At a time Republicans should be gathering an army to beat President Barack Obama in 21 months, they are at odds about what it takes to actually win a battleground state like Colorado, which leans no way and is unpredictable usually even days before an election.
The key, according to political scientists and conservative-thought leaders, is finding a candidate who can comfortably traipse into circles of libertarians, evangelical Christians and bread-and-butter business owners â yet attract finicky independent voters who are prone to political trends and usually decide elections at the last minute.
“If it’s a close election, and it usually is in Colorado, you must go to the suburban voters, suburban women. There you have the campaign in a nutshell,” said outgoing GOP state chairman Dick Wadhams. “That is where the ballgame is. You have to appeal to the vast swath of unaffiliated voters.”
It will be tough to find a Republican presidential candidate who inspires donors and door-knockers alike during a nationwide primary, and then has the ability to attract enough independents and even Democrats in a general election, said Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union.