Next January, Michael Bennet, Ken Buck, Jane Norton or Andrew Romanoff will become (or continue as) a member of what is often called the most exclusive club in the world: the United States Senate.
Unlike in many past elections, Colorado's Democrats and Republicans are both blessed with having meaningful choices for casting their votes in the parties' upcoming Aug. 10 Senate primaries.
Democrats will determine which talented, hard-working, relatively young lawyer should be their standard-bearer, while Republicans will choose between two articulate candidates who differ from each other in both style and substance, not to mention gender.
Next month, after much research and even more debate, the Colorado Springs Independent, the largest locally owned newspaper serving the Pikes Peak region, will announce and explain its endorsement choices for each Senate primary. During our candidate-vetting process, we will ask and attempt to get answers for a number of questions; the top 10 on our list are below.
But we also would like your input. To weigh in on our endorsement process, and perhaps suggest questions of your own, comment below. Or send your thoughts to email@example.com.
• No. 10, Voting — How will each contender cast votes in committees and on the Senate floor on a multitude of critical international, environmental, social policy and economic issues?
• No. 9, Effectiveness — The U.S. Senate has been historically cited as the world's greatest deliberative body. Senators, especially those with little seniority, must be innovative, aggressive and persuasive with their colleagues, the media and interest groups in order to help shape the debate with any effectiveness. Which candidates have the best wherewithal to win quick respect on that stage and actually get needed things done?
• No. 8, Uncharted territory — Many, if not most, of the issues Colorado's junior senator will address are not yet on the table. Which of each party's candidates has the most raw intellect, compassion and ability to navigate new, unexpected issues and decisions?
• No. 7, Inspiration — Which candidate, if elected, will be best able to both mobilize and enlighten Colorado's citizens during the next six years?
• No. 6, Seniority — Extraordinary benefits go to states whose U.S. senators have served at least three full terms. Which candidate has the greatest likelihood of continuing in office to 2028 and beyond?
• No. 5, Independence — Which candidate will do what is in the best interests of the people of Colorado and our nation? Which candidates will be more likely to be swayed by special and moneyed interests? By the national parties' doctrines and interests?
• No. 4, Representation outside Denver — Which candidate will work harder for the Pikes Peak region, as well as other areas and constituencies outside the Denver/Boulder metro area?
• No. 3, Electability — If nominated by their parties, which candidate(s) will have the best chance of winning in November?
• No. 2, Constituent services — Which candidate will be able to get things done for deserving Colorado citizens and businesses needing individual help from their U.S. senators, regardless of party affiliation?
• No. 1, Pride — If elected, which candidate would make us most proud of having that person representing Colorado to the nation?
Bonus question: Which candidate has the most potential to become president or vice president? From John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, from Harry Truman to Dan Quayle, from Lyndon Johnson to Hubert Humphrey, from Richard Nixon to Joe Biden, the U.S. Senate has been — and will continue to be — a launching pad for pursuing national office. Which of Colorado's Senate candidates should be awarded the opportunity to develop into a possible future contender for one of the most powerful offices in the world?
John Weiss and Ralph Routon are, respectively, the publisher and executive editor of the Colorado Springs Independent.