10/01/2010 10:56 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

GOP's Quest for an Honest Man -- Or Even One Without a Shady Past

This year's crop of GOP legislative candidates looks like the Colorado's Most Wanted. I would say that this is not a quality crop of people, but that would be an insult to quality. GOP chief Dick Wadhams owes some apologies to the regular rank-and-file Republicans for what could be the worst case of candidate recruiting in history.

Did Wadhams lose his subscription to Lexis-Nexis before he recruited this band of misfits? He has set the bar particularly low this year. He gave us gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, who threw an 82-year old and his own moderate voting record under the bus during the plagiarism scandal. Then McInnis flamed out and Wadhams had a screaming match with Tom Tancredo and threw GOP candidate Dan Maes under the bus.

Rep. Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch, who doesn't like government, but has made a career in government, is the Leader of the GOP Legislative Pack. "The Man Who Would Be Speaker" (McNulty) says these are just "ordinary citizens." Are these really the Best and the Brightest of the GOP?

I bet their mothers are proud:

Rep. David Balmer of Arapahoe County
This guy is part of the leadership. Really? Balmer was accused of physically abusing his wife -- constant and repeated verbal and mental abuse. He disappeared in 1995, claiming to have amnesia after showing up bloodied on a front doorstep. He says he has no memory of any of this bizarre incident.

Janak Joshi of Colorado Springs
State Board of Medical Examiners slapped him for failing to treat a patient and document his treatment. Joshi was forced to permanently surrender his medical license.

Ronald "Clint" Webster of Jefferson County

This candidate was arrested for disturbing the peace twice. He threatened to kill his ex-wife and fired two shots at her in 1991. Those documents are now sealed.

Edgar Antillon of Adams County

Arrested in 2004 on two counts of felony impersonation, this candidate pleaded guilty to misdemeanor perjury. Most disturbing about him are the images of him on the internet wearing a wrestling mask brandishing automatic assault weapons.

Tom Janich of Adams County

Janich, a perennial candidate, has a lengthy arrest record that includes assault on two Brighton police officers who were trying to arrest him. The police report says Janich ripped at their uniforms, thrashed violently and threatened to both sue and kill them. He also has DUIs on his arrest record.

J. Paul Brown of La Plata County

Brown ventured into oddball territory at the Club 20 debate when he ranted about the United Nations, guns and civil war. Perhaps it runs in the family. Brown's brothers were arrested in 2005 by federal agents for the theft of a large amount of explosives in New Mexico. Makes you wonder what faux-military world Brown lives in, after he called the federal disaster reserves "Obama's private army."

Gary Marshall of Adams County

Marshall was charged with misdemeanor child abuse in 2002, when he and his wife left their six young children unsupervised and a car hit one child. Marshall attended parenting classes as part of his sentence.

There's more, but you no doubt get the general pattern...

The legislature is a job that pays only $30,000 a year and if you're in the minority, there is very little you can accomplish. But it's a sad day for Colorado's two-party system when this is the best they can scrape up. This was supposed to be the GOP's comeback year.

The Democrats are not perfect, but the highlights of the Dem's criminal records are stealing from a vending machine in college and protesting with nuns. No one committed crimes with weapons, shot at their wife, blacked-out about being arrested in a park, abandoned their children, had children shoot other children on the front lawn, had brothers arrested for smuggling explosives into the country, or threatened to kill a police officer.

Republicans have suffered from a "gender gap" for many years. Democrats tend to be the perennial favorites among female voters, primarily because of their support of the so-called soft issues like education and health care. Perhaps this explains some of that disparity. In their eagerness to do battle over the legislature, the Colorado GOP leadership confused toughness with thuggery.