Frazier to Drop Senate Bid, Challenge Perlmutter?

Say this about Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier: The man has no problems with beating his head against a wall.

According to The Denver Post, Frazier will soon drop out of the race for U.S. Senate — a race he almost certainly cannot win — in order to challenge incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter in CD-7. Which, coincidentally, is also a race he almost certainly cannot win.

As we’ve written in this space before, Frazier made a bold move by entering the race for U.S. Senate early in the process, but all of the air quickly left his campaign when he reported an abysmal first fundraising quarter. Fortunately for Frazier, whatever money he raised in a bid for U.S. Senate translates into a congressional race, but even so, we’re not so sure this is the best move for him politically. Why?

Because in a crowded Republican primary for Senate, the odds are better that Frazier could emerge as the GOP nominee than they are that Frazier could win a head-to-head battle against a popular and well-funded two-term incumbent Perlmutter. Frazier pushed all his chips on the table when he announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, and pulling them back now to run for congress doesn’t improve his odds at being elected — it only reduces the size of the pot.

It would have made a lot more sense for Frazier to run against Perlmutter from the beginning, rather than attempting a U.S. Senate bid. But since he’s already chosen the Senate, he might as well stay on that path. Frazier probably can’t win the GOP nomination for Senate, but he also can’t likely win the congressional seat in CD-7. So he might as well stick with the one that has the bigger payoff.

Quick side note: While we’re on the subject of CD-7, we had to make a comment on this quick section of the story:

Frazier was elected to the Aurora City Council in 2003 and re-elected in 2007.

“I think people forget that as a city councilman at-large, Frazier represents the entire city of Aurora,” said Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

Aurora, population 319,000, is Colorado’s third-largest city.

Yes, Aurora is Colorado’s third-largest city, but the city is split between different congressional districts. Furthermore, city council elections in any place other than Denver, where large sums of money is spent and a lot of media attention is generated, are always generally ignored by the public. A very small percentage of people vote in municipal elections (Frazier won the election with a meager 14,645 total votes in 2007, while 41,836 Aurorans voted for Perlmutter in 2008), so being an at-large candidate in Aurora is completely irrelevant in terms of name ID. No doubt most Aurora voters couldn’t name any of their city council members.

39 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. redstateblues says:


    • redstateblues says:

      John “Who?” Larew.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      But neither are ideal for this district. The vast majority of the votes come from Jefferson County, where Perlmutter has a huge base. A candidate from Adams County or Aurora will always be at a natural disadvantage.

      • RedGreen says:

        when we hear all the talk about Frazier winning election to represent Aurora at large. Only about a third of Aurora is in the 7th CD.

        • Colorado Pols says:

          Frazier almost certainly is not that well known in Aurora, even if he did win a citywide election. Outside of Denver, where city elections are big money and get huge media attention, nobody pays attention to city races.  

          • redstateblues says:

            You get to vote for two (or is three?) candidates. It’s not even comparable to the size and scope of a statewide, one person one vote election.

            • Colorado Pols says:

              Because it is such an important point. Frazier and Wadhams will point this out as much as possible, and the press will often bite on it. But in reality, 95% of Aurora voters probably couldn’t name one member of the city council. Most people haven’t the slightest idea who represents them in city council matters.

            • RedGreen says:

              for the Aurora at-large candidates. (There are four at-large council members, serving staggered terms, so two are elected each election.)

              Frazier probably has a higher profile than the other Aurora at-large councilors, but that still isn’t saying much.

              His 2007 vote was a scant 27 votes higher than his 2003 vote:… — does that mean he’s reached his ceiling?

              • Pam Bennett says:

                AT-LARGE Total

                Bennett 11,777

                Frazier 14,645

                Pierce 14,116

                Senn   5,495

                Wilkiins   9,718

                Total 55,751

                • RedGreen says:

                  as few as 22,875 (and a half!) people voted in that race (if everyone cast votes for two candidates, which not everyone would have). Since roughly a third of Aurora falls in the 7th CD, that could mean just over 7,000 folks who voted for Frazier can vote for him again. No disrespect meant toward you or your campaign, Pam, but that’s not exactly the foundation of a strong congressional run. Not the way Wadhams is spinning it, at least.

                  • Pam Bennett says:

                    I do not plan on running for CD7. I do support Rep. Ed Perlmutter and look forward to helping his re-election campaign and voting for him again.

                    One key item to consider is that I won all the precincts, 13, in Adams County in 2007, thereby taking Adams County. I don’t have the numbers handy, however, the numbers are on the Adams Co. Clerk’s website (a very good website it is too).

  2. Danny the Red (hair) says:

    If only Ali had jumped in (I don’t know if he’s old enough) it would have been the golden age of boxing.

  3. jmatt12 says:

    Frazier seems to be banking on the idea that 2010 will be a good Republican year.  Whether it will be or not remains to be seen, but at least by moving to 7, Frazier accomplishes two things.  1.) He gets to stay in the game past the primary, where he really didn’t stand much chance against Norton.  2.) He helps his fundraising woes by moving into a position where he is the undisputed front runner and I assume there are also some Norton supporters who will help Frazier as a way to thank him for being a good soldier and clearing the field for Norton.

    If the election were held today, Frazier would stand no chance against Perlmutter.  Still, a lot can happen between now and 2010.  If the Democrats can’t get past their infighting and give Republicans easy pot shots from the outside, Frazier is at least in a better position to take advantage.

  4. allyncooper says:

    The point is correctly made that Frazier has almost almost no chance of winning the GOP nomination for Senate. And its also valid he probably will have little chance of beating Perlmutter.

    However, running in CD7 he has a very good chance of being the GOP nominee against Perlmutter and running in a general election against one candidate. And even a loss in the general against Perlmutter gets him name recognition, a platform for his issues, and a bigger donor base.

    I think its a win-win strategy for Frazier, especially if he can run an effective campaign and come closer to Perlmuter than most people believe is possible now. Even a loss against Perlmuter as the GOP nominee is politically advantageous to an anemic, underfunded, Senate run in which he can’t even get the nomination.

    Frazier is young, ambitious, and can bide his time for bigger and better things….

  5. ArdentAdmirer2 says:

    In 1994 a lot of guys like Ryan Frazier upset a lot of great Members of Congress like Ed Perlmutter

        • Danny the Red (hair) says:

          Newt Gingrich had a plan in 1994, he took a hit out on America, the ‘Contract on Americans,’ or what ever it was called.

          It gave him a plan and an argument around which to base a strategy.  I may not agree with Newt on much, but he was a leader.

          The modern GOP has no leaders, no discipline and no plan.

          You can’t have one wing yelling “no taxes” and another wing yelling “no deficit” without people in the middle going “huh?”

          The GOP is so fractured right now, they can’t even craft a Luntz approved soft sell of ideas the American public have already rejected. The only thing that unites them is opposition to Obama and that won’t get the job done.

          • RedGreen says:

            the GOP might get its act together by next summer and be able to capitalize on voter discontent, to the extent that isn’t marginalized in a small slice of the electorate that’s going to oppose Democrats no matter what. But Danny’s right, no sign of it yet.

        • Arvadonian says:

          I think that there were more “ponies” in Santa’s sleigh for Mark Foley than for Speaker Foley….

  6. Ray Springfield says:

    represents the district extraordinarily well.

    He’ll win re election handily.

  7. DaftPunk says:

    Romanoff pulls Senate primary challenge, opposes DeGette for CD1 Democratic nomination.

  8. twas brillig says:

    as I pointed out in another thread, whether Frazier knows it or not. Wadhams is finally starting to show some game.

    This is really about CD-4 and helping the NRCC, by forcing the DCCC to play defense in two districts while going on offense in the one that really counts to them.  

    • ajb says:

      And how much will the NRCC put into this race? 1. Perlmutter has a ton of dough (though I don’t recall the exact amount).

      2. The NRCC is already several million behind the DCCC. Will they put that money into a race they don’t think they can win?

      Conclusion: The DCCC won’t put money into this race until they think it’s in play.  

    • Republican 36 says:

      but I’m not sure that will be the case. Congressman Perlmutter is in good shape and if Mr. Frazier doesn’t show some momentum, there won’t be any need for the DCCC to become involved. It is up to Frazier, if he doesn’t start hard and fast he will fizzle out and his move to the 7th CD race won’t help Republicans at all.

      Next week is going to be very interesting. Does anyone know how much money Cory Gardner raised the last quarter? I haven’t heard anything form him about his fundraising.

    • allyncooper says:

      I assume Frazier would be able to transfer funds from his Senate bid to the CD7 effort. Anybody know how much that is?

      I believe someone said Perlmutter has about $800,000 already banked, correct me if I’m wrong. No doubt he can easily crank that up, and no doubt will, if he faces Frazier. So any way you look at it, Ed’s got a huge advantage money wise.  

      • Colorado Pols says:

        Federal campaign cash transfers in either direction.

      • Automaticftp says:

        $816K on hand, according to the FEC.  Mr. Frazier had $127K on hand as of 6-30-09.

        I agree with those who say it is a good move for Mr. Frazier politically–he’s likely to get a lot more support than in a Senate run.  I don’t think he can beat Mr. Perlmutter unless Mr. Perlmutter effectively collapses, which seems highly unlikely.  

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