Robert Blaha, a Republican businessman from Colorado Springs, is preparing to run against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in a 2016 race that suddenly looks like it could get crowded with Republican candidates.
Blaha, who mounted an unsuccessful, self-funded primary challenge to GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn in 2012, released a statement Thursday saying he’ll make his decision purely based on Bennet’s vote for or against the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran.
“If Colorado Senator Michael Bennet votes to support this deal, he must be defeated in 2016 and I will announce my candidacy for U.S. Senate,” Blaha said in the statement. “If he votes against the deal, I will stand down—period.”
Blaha told National Journal on Thursday that he is actively seeking campaign staff. Patrick Davis, a Colorado Republican consultant and Blaha ally, posted to Facebook on Tuesday that he was “in the market for a campaign manager and finance director for Federal candidate,” and Blaha confirmed that the search was on his behalf. Blaha’s website from his congressional campaign was active as recently as Tuesday but now displays the message, “Stay tuned… updates coming soon.”
Blaha’s announcement comes as a handful of other Colorado Republicans have indicated interest in opposing Bennet this past week. Though Rep. Mike Coffman disappointed GOP leaders by turning down the Senate race this spring, national Republicans have turned their attention to District Attorney George Brauchler, who is considering running now that he has finished prosecuting the high-profile murder trial of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes.