At this point, the Colorado Republican Party finds itself in a situation like the one John Elway faced in 1987 in Cleveland, with five minutes on the clock and the 98 yards to go to win the game. They need an Elway miracle to win a statewide election here.
Except they have Donald Trump on their team, not Elway.
But what if John Elway came to their rescue? His name pops up when the dregs of a political conversation turns to GOP miracles.
That’s because Elway is a Republican whom Coloradans actually like (sometimes). And over the years, he’s considered a run for office, if you believe the rumors.
Elway seems to like politics. He’s a reliable GOP donor, and he endorses Republicans in key races.
And he’s unafraid to be associated with losers–which would be a requirement if he ran for office in a blue state like Colorado.
In 2018, Elway backed, among others, then-state Sen.Tim Neville (R-Littleton), who lost his seat that year, as well as other state senate candidates whose collective losses resulted in a Democratic takeover of the state Senate.
More recently, during last year’s election, Elway gave over $85,000 to federal GOP candidates, mostly losers, including Donald Trump. He gave over $15,000 to the losing Republican efforts in the Georgia Senate races.
Elway’s winning connections last year included far-right conservative U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
So would Elway run in Colorado?
Democratic pollster Chris Keating doesn’t think so.
“I don’t think John Elway is going to do it,” Keating told me last week. “I don’t think he wants to put himself and his family and his football career through the wringer.
“I’m sure people are going to tell him it’s a great idea. I would tell him it’s really dumb idea. We love you John. Even Democrats like myself, we remember fondly all the stuff he’s done. And we don’t want to think about that other stuff. We love the Broncos and John Elway.
“It’s insanely stupid for him to do that. He would just get dragged down into it. That’s not necessary.”
And Elway would have another problem: He’d lose.
Elway would likely clear the Republican primary because he’s a Trump backer and because he’s John Elway.
We don’t know if he’s an election conspiracist, but you’d think so based on the GOP cohort.
Then Elway would face the same unaffiliated voters whom any other Republican would need to win in Colorado. A clear majority of these swing voters are Trump-hating and progressive–and lean heavily toward Democrats.
There aren’t many athletes like Elway who’ve jumped successfully to big-time politics. In Colorado, U.S. Ben Nighthose Campbell was an Olympic star. Republican Jack Kemp of New York was an NFL quarterback. Wresting sensation Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota.
And you have to consider the fact that Elway oversaw a losing football team in recent years.
It all adds up to a political nose dive, not a winning drive, for Elway.