ReaganGirl.com is an amalgam of various types of articles and writing styles. Today’s post is a mixture of opinion and fact. I am reasonably perceptive, however, when it comes to human nature and motivation, and I believe that, though an opinion piece, this article is a deft look at an Old West-style blood feud that has the potential to derail a GOP incumbent in an important Colorado congressional district.
In the Summer of 2010 Bob McConnell, a Republican (Steamboat Springs) ran in the GOP primary against Scott Tipton (Cortez) and lost. Bob McConnell had all the trappings of a good Republican, but he lost fair and square, mostly because Scott Tipton worked his arse off traversing one of the largest and most remote congressional districts in the United States, which encompasses some 54,000 square miles. Tipton met with folks in every town, city, and stopover in the western third of Colorado. Not only did Tipton outwork his primary opponent, he was also the more traditional conservative candidate and was favored because of that. Bob McConnell’s politics were more Libertarian than conservative. Bob McConnell cast himself as the Tea Party candidate, but even with an endorsement from Sarah Palin and some veteran’s groups, Bob McConnell failed to garner Republican momentum, and lost in to Tipton in the GOP primary 44-56%. The rejection of McConnell was a rejection by the majority of voters in the Tea Party, as well as the traditional GOP. Shortly after GOP voters in CO D3 spurned McConnell, he quit the Republican party and became unaffiliated. His twitter feed shows that he blamed the Republicans and their lack of “balls” for his defeat. On August 3, 2012, also on his twitter feed, McConnell announced his “Democrats for McConnell initiative.” Tipton went on to trounce incumbent Democrat, John Salazar, and become the U.S. Congressman for Colorado’s District 3. But McConnell still wanted what Scott Tipton got. He wanted it with a vengeance.
Almost immediately the backbiting began. Back in those days I followed McConnell on Facebook. Posts about imagined “ethical violations by Tipton,” and other issues that sounded more like the grousing of a loser than news, were found regularly on his wall. I was perplexed by McConnell’s undignified, poor-sport postings, and asked him innocently in a comment, “Sour grapes, Bob?” The blowback by him and his followers was epic! I was savaged on the wall of McConnell’s Facebook page, drawn and quartered, and attacked as a horrible “establishment Republican.” When I tried to bring some measure of civility to the conversation, I was called a “condescending Liberal.” And those were the printable remarks. I was frankly stunned by the level of anger and vitriol that came from the McConnell bunch. I would even characterize it as bitterly vengeful. Like any sane person who actively avoids the insane, I blocked McConnell and all of his icky friends.
In a side note: Bob McConnell is married to a decidedly un-conservative, self-proclaimed Zen Buddhist gal named Phyllis Coletta. Phyllis is from Philadelphia and in her blog, Tales from the Dork Side, she often complains about the people of Colorado. Her posts are also pretty raunchy by conservative standards, unless you’re Dennis Miller doing a Vegas show. But McConnell’s wife uses expletives freely in her posts and on her Facebook wall. Admittedly Coletta strives for humor in her writing, but F-bombs and strings of expletives are uncharacteristic of traditional conservative sentiment.
Now, back to the timeline: A young and ambitious woman, who is also a friend of Bob McConnell’s and a resident of Steamboat Springs, Tisha Casida, was also apparently dissatisfied with Scott Tipton and began grumbling about his failures on her website–which has since been scrubbed–on January 4, 2011. It is hard to discern what teed her off about Tipton, since she was not an acquaintance of his, and as of January 4, 2011, Scott Tipton had not been sworn into office as a United States Congressman. But early in 2011, the buzz about Tisha Casida running as an Independent against Scott Tipton in Colorado’s Congressional Distict 3 began. Casida formed an exploratory committee and announced her candidacy in the Fall of 2011. Evidence that she sympathized with McConnell surfaced in an interview she did for the Independent Voter Network in December of 2011, when she said;
Tisha Casida: The Tea Party really supported Bob McConnell. Tipton was just the next-in-line establishment pick. The [Republican] Party got him in there. He adopted a lot of McConnell’s talking points but if you look at how he’s voted, he’s not a small government Republican; he’s a big government Republican. But yes, we do think there’s a lot of independent sentiment in the district that we can rally to win: the Tea Party, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and all voters that feel disenfranchised.
IVN: Tell us a little more about that. Why did you choose to run as an Independent?
Tisha Casida: Because of what happened to McConnell. I know the Republican Party would not have me as a candidate. I’ve never been embraced by the Republican Party as a young female activist.
In a November 14, 2011 interview which she gave to columnist Kelly Sloan of Grand Junction’s Free Press, Casida referred to Bob McConnell as, “my dear friend and mentor.” Furthermore, Casida’s campaign team held a retreat at the home of Bob McConnell in September of 2011, about which McConnell remarked, “I’m proud to have hosted their first organizational meeting”. The McConnell–the guy who lost to Scott Tipton in 2010–Casida connection cannot be dismissed. Simple revenge may be a motive on the part of Bob McConnell; the grudge that just will not die. Or McConnell, feeling that he was wronged by the Republican party, and by Scott Tipton personally, may feel that he has a right to the D3 U.S. Congressional seat. Casida’s third-party run has the potential to tip the scales to Sal Pace, the Liberal Democrat. Perhaps in McConnell’s mind this sets up a scenario in which he could make another run in 2014, this time triumphantly taking the CO D3 congressional seat that he deserved in the last go-round. Either way, it appears that Tisha Casida is very likely the bearer of Bob McConnell’s sour grapes.
In the November 14, 2011 interview in Grand Junction, Kelly Sloan asked Tisha Casida if it bothered her that her run would probably draw a few percentage points off of the Republican candidate and lead to a victory by the Liberal Democrat. Her response was that it didn’t bother her at all, and that the two parties were the same. She asserted that only an Independent candidate like herself could really solve the current problems in America.
Tisha Casida is certainly a bright young woman, and she has a reasonably successful business history under her belt. But does she really believe that she could win against an incumbent as a third-party candidate, in a district which has been well represented by said incumbent? No, I don’t think she’s that stupid. But she is clever, and Bob McConnell is clever, and out for blood. The Tisha Casida run is a ruse, engineered by Bob McConnell–and possibly Sal Pace, but I have no evidence that supports that speculation–to derail Scott Tipton, who as of now, is the new Sheriff in town.
Phyllis Coletta refers to McConnell as “Cowboy Bob.” One has to wonder whether McConnell has taken the Old West affinity a little too far, into the realm of the streets of Tombstone, and the blood feud at the OK corral. One has only to do the math to understand that Tisha Casida’s run in the D3 congressional race means almost certain victory for the Liberal Democrat. In the minds of Bob McConnell and his “sour grapes” cabal, it is, more importantly, a defeat of Scott Tipton. Blood feuds never end well. The Conservatives and Republicans in Colorado’s Congressional District 3 would be wise to take heed now and stop the McConnell and Casida gang from riding into town and bushwhacking the interests of Conservatives in Colorado, and across the nation.
By Marjorie Haun 2/27/12