DENVER – Republican candidates – exhausted from repeatedly being asked to answer for controversies stemming from Donald Trump – have seized upon a chance to turn the tables.
Renewed FBI scrutiny over Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails on a private server have opened the door for the GOP to attack down-ticket Democratic candidates.
Democrats this election have made a sport of asking Republican candidates whether they continue to stand with Trump. The larger-than-life presidential candidate has many times added pressure on tight down-ticket Republican campaigns. Whether it was comments perceived as racially insensitive or sexually abusive, Trump left plenty on the table.
After more than a year of having to answer where they stand on Trump, Republican candidates are now asking Democrats to do the same about Clinton.
Perhaps no candidate in Colorado has had to answer more about whether they align with Trump than Glenn.
After Trump earlier this month was exposed for 2005 remarks – in which he made crude comments about a married woman he tried to seduce and bragged about women letting him kiss and grab them because he is a celebrity – Glenn distanced himself from Trump.
But his perspective quickly changed, with Glenn saying that he wanted to meet with Trump to offer him a chance to “share his heart.” Even though Glenn never got his meeting, the Senate candidate said he would still vote for him, which left Glenn having to explain his changing stance.
Glenn has momentumIn the uphill U.S. Senate battle, Glenn has done better recently against Bennet.
After lackluster fundraising, Glenn ended the third quarter with nearly $2.8 million in contributions and $1.9 million in the bank, raising more money since July than Bennet.
Glenn campaigned with Republican icon Ted Cruz in Colorado last week, making stops in Loveland and Denver. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah – another big-name Republican – also campaigned with Glenn last week, making stops Friday in Fort Collins and Castle Rock.
Glenn has been consistently trailing Bennet by double digits. But a CBS News poll of 997 likely voters conducted Oct. 26-28 in battleground Colorado found 46 percent planned to vote for Bennet, while 41 percent said Glenn, potentially bringing Glenn within 5 points.
Given that momentum, the Clinton controversy offered a unique opportunity.
“The latest revelation that the FBI is yet again investigating Hillary Clinton for her dangerous lack of judgment leaves no doubt the Democratic nominee is unfit to hold our nation’s highest office. How long will Democrats like Michael Bennet continue to support Clinton at all cost over our nation’s laws and Constitution?” Glenn asked in a statement.
Bennet’s campaign responded, “Hillary Clinton made a mistake with her use of personal email and she was right to apologize for it. Government officials should release all of the information they have in advance of the election.”
A Bennet spokesman added that the incumbent Democrat continues to support Clinton.
Clinton fights backThe Clinton campaign is requesting FBI Director James Comey release specific details into any investigation, to end speculation. At issue is Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails, which were found on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
Investigators are looking at whether classified documents were sent in private emails.
Comey sent a letter to lawmakers saying the FBI was once again looking into emails potentially tied to Clinton, but specifics – including whether the examination is part of a formal investigation – were left out.
A group of nearly 50 former state attorneys general issued a letter Monday calling Comey’s recent letter “unacceptable” and a “serious mistake.” Two former Colorado attorneys general signed the letter, including Ken Salazar and J.D. MacFarlane, both Democrats. Salazar is chairman of Clinton’s transition team.
Meanwhile, the two campaigns continue to focus on Colorado. Trump stopped in Golden on Saturday and Greeley on Sunday.
Chelsea Clinton is expected to campaign for her mother on Tuesday and Wednesday in Aurora and Boulder.
On the campaign trailWhile the Clinton controversy swirls without resolution, Democratic candidates remain committed to the former secretary of state.
“James Comey’s cryptic letter hasn’t offered anything noteworthy. The public has been left in the dark regarding specific details of the case and how they might relate to Hillary Clinton. But early reports point to Clinton not being directly involved,” said Barbara McLachlan, who is challenging Republican incumbent J. Paul Brown in House District 59.
“My opponents want to use this for attack ad opportunities ...”
McLachlan has repeatedly called on Brown to withdraw his support of Trump.
Similarly, 3rd Congressional District Democratic challenger Gail Schwartz has attacked Republican incumbent Scott Tipton for supporting Trump, asking, “Will Scott Tipton stand up for our values?”
Tipton has not called on Schwartz to explain where she stands on Clinton in the wake of Comey’s letter.
The Durango Herald on Monday asked the Schwartz campaign for comment. A spokesman did not immediately reply.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, is calling for the revocation of Clinton’s security clearance following the latest news. He and other Republicans say Clinton should not have access to classified information until she earns the legal right.
Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House called the revelation “extraordinarily stunning.”
“It is obvious the FBI would not make such an announcement unless these emails contained extremely serious new information.”