National conservative leader and avowed Ken Buck supporter Erick Erickson once again weighed in on Colorado's Republican Senate Primary on Monday, comparing candidate Jane Norton to Florida moderate Charlie Crist, and suggesting she's unreliable on immigration.
Erickson, a CNN pundit and founder of the influential conservative blog Redstate.com, has established himself as a powerful brand within the Republican party, rallying on-line support for insurgent right wing candidates around the country.
Erickson endorsed Ken Buck for Senate in February, lauding him as a "true conservative." Buck, who began his campaign with little name recognition or money, has since won victories over his well-known rival, Jane Norton, at the party caucuses and assemblies.
The latest head-to-head public polling shows Norton with a slim 5-point lead over Buck.
Among the first candidates to gain Erickson's endorsement was former Speaker of the Florida State House Marco Rubio, who has since turned a fledgling senatorial campaign into a juggernaut. Rubio, a favorite of the party's right wing, ultimately forced the erstwhile front-runner, moderate Repiblican governor Charlie Crist, to run as an independent.
Crist has since become a pariah to right-wingers.
On Monday, Erickson noted similarities between Jane Norton's rhetoric and Crist's. Addressing Norton's recent comments that she stands the best chance of winning a general election, Erickson wrote:
Electability? That's what Charlie Crist said for a year -- "Rubio can't win the general election, so vote for me." It won't work for Norton any more than it will work for Crist.
This is not to say, however, that Norton is horrible like Crist. She's not. But she is falling back on the same talking point. What's more, she's also signaling that she'll capitulate on comprehensive immigration reform.
Rubio appeared at a fundraiser with Norton last week.
Erickson went on to accuse Norton of wavering on immigration reform, a hot-button issue for conservatives in the wake of the passage of Arizona's controversial immigration laws.
He interpreted a quote from Norton in which she argued that she would be able to make inroads with Latino voters as a statement in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants who are already in the country.
"Norton wants a path to citizenship. This is, I think, the first time she's been willing to admit it, however indirectly," Erickson wrote.
Norton has come under fire from right-wingers for making statements that weren't unequivocally opposed to a policy of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
In December, right-wing firebrand Tom Tancredo criticized Norton for suggesting that we need a "working" immigration system, which Tancredo took to mean code for amnesty.
Norton has publicly stated she does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants.
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