Back when he was a Colorado congressman, we thought Republican Scott McInnis was pretty darned conservative. And he was. But it turns out he's still more moderate than the folks that are taking over his party. He recently said that, had he stayed in the race for Colorado's open U.S. Senate seat, he could have beat front-runner and Democrat Mark Udall. Despite his popularity on the state's Western Slope, however, he may not have been able to win the primary. He told the Colorado Independent:
"I would have beat Udall, that wasn’t the issue,” McInnis said. “Frankly I have more difficulties with the right wing of my party then I do with taking on a Democrat. Udall was not the biggest threat I faced in the election. My biggest threat was getting through the primary. Both parties have a pretty radical element to them.”
Whether he really could have beat Udall, who now has a double digit lead over his opponent Republican Bob Schaffer, is questionable. But McInnis's feelings about his party being invaded by right wing hardliners is widely shared; and its detrimental effects on the party are being felt most strongly in the West.
The question now: Will the disenfranchised moderate Republicans pull their party back to the center? Or will they start their own party?