Allard: No third term
By M.E. Sprengelmeyer, Rocky Mountain News
January 15, 2007
WASHINGTON Sen. Wayne Allard said today he will
honor his term-limits pledge and leave at the end of
2008, creating a replacement fight that should turn
Colorado into one of the countrys biggest electoral
"I just didn't think I could back away from the (term
limits) commitment. It is a matter of integrity and
keeping your commitments. I have never wavered on
that," Allard told the Rocky Mountain News.
Appearing with his wife, Joan, at a press conference
at the state Capitol, Allard said, "The people of
Colorado placed their trust in me based on a promise I
made to them and I am honoring that promise. In an age
when promises are cast away as quickly as yesterdays
newspaper, I believe a promise made should be a
Allard, 63, faced friendly pressure from fellow
Republicans who wanted him to run again. Thats
because open-seat contests can be vastly more
difficult and costly for a party to defend.
But he also was tugged by the promise he made in 1996
to serve no more than two U.S. Senate terms.
The term limits pledge was a relic of the so-called
"Republican Revolution" of the 1994 election, when the
GOP swept to power promising to change the ways of
As time passed, some one-time leaders of the movement,
including Rep. Tom Tancredo, and others who signed
pledges, such as former Rep. Scott McInnis, abandoned
their promises in the name of continuing public
service. Others, such as former Rep. Bob Schaffer,
lived up to their pledge and went home.
In October 2002, when Allards re-match against
Democrat Tom Strickland still was in doubt, it was
suggested that the senator was hedging on his
"Im term-limited," Allard said in reaction. "That has
always been my position. Ive always said I believe in
limiting my term. Ive stipulated in past campaigns
that I believe in term limits, and Ive never wavered
He went on to beat Strickland, just as he had in 1996.
But in later years, Allard avoided making definitive
statements about the term limits pledge, especially
after Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbells abrupt retirement
led to a Republican seat falling into the hands of
Democrat Ken Salazar.
"Whoever runs, whether its me or some (other
Republican) candidate who will be running, well be
facing a tough race in Colorado," Allard said
recently. "Ive always faced tough races before. ...
Im used to being an underdog."
Theres a long list of potential candidates for
Allards seat, including Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado
Springs, and various Republicans, such as outgoing
Gov. Bill Owens, Tancredo, McInnis and Schaffer.
Even before Allards decision, the Cook Political
Report and the Washington Post political blog had
called Colorados 2008 Senate contest one of the top
races to watch.
An anticipated retirement by Allard was one reason,
but analysts also point to Democratic gains in
Colorado and other Western states.
The 2008 contest will happen in a presidential
election year, and some Democrats are urging their
party to pick a presidential nominee who reflects
Western values. If so, that could give the partys
Senate candidate some coat-tails to ride.
Allard has been more folksy than flashy during his 24
years in elective office, starting with eight years in
the state Senate, six years in the U.S. House of
Representatives and so far 10 years in the U.S.
"Senator Allards great political strength was that
Coloradans could look at him and say, He is like me.
He works hard every day.
And I think theres a commonality between Coloradans
and Sen. Allard that we havent seen many times in
elected officials," said Republican consultant Dick
Wadhams, who managed Allards Senate campaigns in 1996
Allard has been a champion of fiscal discipline and
traditional social values. That included two
unsuccessful bids to pass a proposed constitutional
amendment banning same-sex marriage.
In recent years, Allard often cast predictable,
party-line votes with fellow Republicans, and he was
known as one of the more reliable allies of President
Bushs White House.
Allies liked to say Allard has been a "work horse"
rather than a "show horse" in Congress. Still, Time
magazine in 2005 dubbed him "The Invisible Man" and
one of the five "worst" U.S. Senators.
Longtime Allard chief of staff Sean Conway dismissed
the ranking as "laughable," citing the senators
accomplishments, including cutting years off the
schedule for cleaning the former nuclear weapons plant
at Rocky Flats; defending the states military
installations from base closings and spearheading the
investigation into sexual assaults at the U.S. Air
Allard was the only one from the nine-member state
delegation to sit on an Appropriations Committee, a
strategic place for securing federal funds for the
state. First-term Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Denver, already
has expressed an interest in an appropriations seat,
although the positions are hard to come by.
But Allard might be remembered just as much for his
down-home appeal and affable manner than his
Allard played up his roots as a veterinarian and small
businessman. He bragged about being a member of the
two-person Senate Veterinarian Caucus, and he
sometimes examined colleagues dogs in his Senate
Meanwhile, he lightened up his policy speeches by
lacing them with yarns about his experience running
the Allard Animal Hospital back in Colorado.
For example, his appeal for reforming the nation's
health care systems included his story about being
stuck with a high out-of-pocket expense for surgery
after he hurt his back lifting Great Danes and other
heavy dogs onto his examination table.