Tensions heightened in the GOP primary for the Colorado governor’s race this week, but the dirtiest move didn’t come from the two men running against each other for the right to meet Gov. John Hickenlooper in the general election. Former congressmen Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo are now facing Democrats’ money in the race, too.

A newly-formed group called “Protect Colorado Values” is about to hit the airwaves with two different ads focused on the two Republican front-runners, Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez.

Both appear to be attack ads, but a single viewing of the two spots makes it clear what the group, a partnership between the independent expenditure committee of the Democratic Governors Association and other Colorado-based progressive donor organizations, is trying to do.

Simply put, the one-two punch is a thinly-veiled effort to help Tom Tancredo win the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

They’re not very thinly veiled. Local and national Democrats believe Tancredo’s past statements and record will be easier to exploit than Beauprez’s in a general election. Trolling. So. Hard.

The 30-second spot focused on Beauprez, titled “Both Ways”, hits the former congressman for voting for “earmarks and spending bills while the national debt ballooned” and for supporting “the individual mandate that’s the cornerstone of Obamacare”, two lines of attack that are likely to turn off conservative primary voters.

The 30-second spot focused on Tancredo labels him “one of the country’s strongest opponents of Obamacare”, notes he called the Affordable Care Act “a scam” and concludes with this: “Tom Tancredo: He’s just too conservative for Colorado.”

Recent polling in the state shows Tancredo with a very slight lead over Beauprez in a four-way field:

The survey of more than 900 likely Republican primary election voters, conducted May 28th and 29th, shows Tom Tancredo atop the field with 27 percent support.

Beauprez, who didn’t enter the race until late February and has been spending a lot of his own money to try to consolidate the anti-Tancredo vote behind his campaign, is polling at 25 percent, within the poll’s three percent margin of error.

Polling also shows the two of them running behind Hickenlooper:

In a recent handicapping of 15 key gubernatorial races, the Washington Post’s The Fix blog concludes that Hickenlooper “does not appear to be in serious danger any more,” thanks mostly to what it called a “weak GOP field” of competitors.

Topping that list is former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is seven points behind Hickenlooper in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

The rest of the field — including Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and former state Sen. Mike Kopp — trail the incumbent by nine or 10 percentage points.

The candidate who carries the GOP banner and the tone of his campaign will, no doubt, have repercussions for Rep. Cory Gardner’s race for Senate against Sen. Mark Udall.

The Alabama teachers union spent a whopping $7 million playing in Republican primaries in that state and walked away with almost nothing. Hope teachers enjoy paying those dues.

The Alabama Education Association spent millions of dollars to elect sympathetic Republicans in Tuesday’s GOP primaries.

The organization, long an engine of the Democratic Party, failed to get any of its candidates seats in the Alabama Senate, but AEA-funded Republican candidates picked up three seats in the House.

Amy Marlowe, a spokeswoman for the AEA, said Wednesday they were satisfied with the results.

Even without a dog in the fight, I love it when this kind of spending is discouraged by bad results.