>The Republican primary for the Colorado's U.S. Senate seat currently held by Michael Bennet is a bellwether for several key trends within the Republican Party this season, most notably gender politics and Tea Party activism. Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, the only woman in the race, is facing off against top contender Ken Buck, a county district attorney with a large Tea Party following. Buck has gained steadily in the polls, and a Denver Post/9News survey from June showed him leading Norton 53 to 37 percent.
But a recent offhand comment has the potential to shake up the race. Buck was caught on tape telling voters that they should choose him because "I do not wear high heels ... I have cowboy boots. They have real bullshit on them." Norton's campaign has already released a TV ad replaying this comment, clearly targeting the female majority of Colorado's Republican primary voters.
This ad taps into gender tensions that have been popping up in other Republican primaries. In Georgia, Karen Handel heads into a gubernatorial runoff with an advantage over Nathan Deal, whom she accused of sexism when he asserted that "real women" supported his candidacy. Nikki Haley triumphed over Gresham Barrett in the South Carolina gubernatorial primary despite allegations of affairs. In fact, Jonathan Martin speculates that the rumors may even have "intensified her you-go-girl following among women while increasing support among men who thought such accusations were bad form."