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Ken Buck on the 'tea party': I absolutely want their support

By Felicia Sonmez

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R) today heralded the role of the "tea party" movement in helping him win his party's nomination in the Colorado Senate race earlier this month.

"The tea party was huge in my success in the primary," Buck said in an appearance on the ABC/Washington Post "Top Line" program.

Buck said that he and members of the tea party are in agreement "on most issues" and that he "absolutely" wants their support in the general election. But he cautioned that he sees himself not as a tea party candidate, but as a "grassroots candidate."

Buck, who came from behind to pull off a 52 percent to 48 percent victory over establishment-backed former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the Aug. 10 Republican primary, faces a closely contested race against Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in the fall.

Like other candidates who have enjoyed tea party support including ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) in Kentucky and former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R) in Nevada, Buck has been targeted by national Democrats who claim that his positions on the issues are extreme.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee stuck to that message today in its first TV ad of the race. The 30-second spot slams Buck for remarks he made last June in favor of repealing the 17th Amendment, which calls for the direct election of senators. (Buck has since walked back the remarks.)

"Buck said he wanted to rewrite the Constitution to let state legislators pick our senators instead of voters," the narrator of the ad says, concluding that "Ken Buck's just too extreme for Colorado."

Buck's campaign manager, John Swartout, responded that "the DSCC and Bennet want to talk about anything other than the Obama-Bennet record that helped push over 90,000 Coloradans to the unemployment lines, and brought the nation's home sales to their lowest point in 15 years."

Also during today's "Top Line" interview, Buck declined to call for Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes to exit the race to succeed retiring Gov. Bill Ritter (D), stating that Maes "is the person who earned a spot on the ticket."

By Felicia Sonmez  | August 24, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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