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May 20, 2011 10:12 PM UTC

Worst-Kept "Secret" Ever: Dems Itching To Take on Tipton, Gardner

  • by: Colorado Pols

Both Colorado House Minority Leader Sal Pace and Senate President Brandon Shaffer are strongly considering runs against freshman Reps. Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner in 2012. This isn’t news to us, of course, and it’s not likely to be news to most of our readers. But the confirmation by Chuck Plunkett of the Denver paper yesterday after House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer met with the editorial board will allow us all to discuss these matchups in less hypothetical terms. That said, nothing is certain until candidates formally announce.

The most interesting part of Hoyer’s conversation with the Denver paper was not the disclosure that Shaffer and Pace are interested in running, but the enthusiasm of potential candidates here compared to his experience in other states. According to Hoyer, it’s often necessary to make multiple trips to recruit against incumbents, but “none of yours have to be convinced.”

Watching Scott Tipton bumble from one embarrassment to the next as we and eager Democrats in Washington have, it’s very easy to understand Sal Pace’s enthusiasm. We do think that of the two freshmen in Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner will prove to be the harder target, being somewhat more cautious and smarter generally than Tipton. Favored by GOP leadership, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) will probably put up more of a fight to defend Gardner than Tipton. It’s important to remember that these presumptions necessarily rest on the present districts, and could change based on the new map we’ll see this fall.

On the subject of redistricting, we will concede that Tipton’s vulnerability is one reason why some Democrats were less than enamored with certain details of their own map proposals, especially early maps that made CD-3 harder for Democrats to win. But we’ll say again: the 10-point GOP advantage Democratic maps drew in CD-4 makes Frank McNulty’s broken-record allegation that Shaffer tried to “manipulate the map” to his advantage quite silly–not to mention how clear it is now why McNulty was so fixated on Shaffer. He’s worried about his friend Cory Gardner…

Bottom line: what Steny Hoyer “let slip” yesterday was not that Pace and Shaffer are likely to run; they’ve been on our 2012 Big Line (left) for months. The real news from Hoyer is how national Democrats are excited about their chances in Colorado next year–and that ought to make both of our Republican freshmen quite nervous.


28 thoughts on “Worst-Kept “Secret” Ever: Dems Itching To Take on Tipton, Gardner

  1. Pace has this in the bag.. Tipton’s continuous fumbles about Pinon Canon, Medicare cuts and his vast support of big oil will put Pace in Congress in 2012.  

    With 2012 being an election year it will be no surprise that a higher voter turnout will occur and the Dems are posed to take this seat over.. 2014 will be another story and Pace has his work cut out for him but for 2012 its Pace’s to lose.  

    1. It might be premature for anyone to conclude that Pace has the nomination locked up or is even the guy to beat.  It is, after all, Pueblo.

      There is already a list of possible candidates including Abel Tapia and Jeff Chostner.  

      The more vulnerable Tipton is considered, the stronger the Democrat field will become.

  2. Here’s what I’ve heard:

    1. Shaffer is furious that the cat’s out of the bag

    2. Democrats indeed are eyeing Tipton, but they don’t think Pace has the gravitas and are still shopping (Schwartz?)

    3. Cory Gardner can’t wait to kick Brandon’s ass.

    I agree Hoyer didn’t say anything that wasn’t common knowledge, except for the fraud surgeon he wants to run in CD-6 (ha!). But really, Guvs, do you think he doesn’t give the editorial boards a shine job everywhere he goes? Let’s be realistic.

      1. Sal Pace needs to wait a few years until his chest hair starts to come in. If I were the Dems I’d be looking hard at Gail Schwartz if I wanted to actually win this seat, and that’s no spin.

          1. She’s been a solid state senator, but her Aspen origins would be a tough sell in many parts of the district. It’s not called Tinsel Town and Glitter Gulch for nothing. Unfair? You bet, but life can be that way.

            On the other hand, her district is huge with many hardcore conservatives thick upon the ground, some 12 or 13 counties if memory serves, and she wins her races one little town at a time. She’s a fierce campaigner.

            I don’t know if she has congressional ambitions, however.

                1. But it’s important to recognize that anyone’s chances of getting elected depend on how the voters vote.

                  It’s not whether you agree with them, it’s what is.

                  If Schwartz or Pace or anyone else can get enough votes in Pueblo (depending, of course on how CD3 is gerrymandered), then they have a chance.  If not, well, CD3 is what it is.

    1. If Brandon is really mad because the cat is out of the bag, then he was the only one on the Front Range who thought there was a bag with a cat in it.  He’s been fantasizing for 2 years about a run for Congress but couldn’t get around Polis or Perlmutter.  He was in the wrong timing cycle to run for the 4th until Betsy lost – he should have run hard against Musgrave.

      I have heard from several people in southern Colorado that Schwartz has said she will not run for the 3rd – seems a little early to being bowing out.

    2. From what I’ve heard the surgeon has family roots in the 3rd going back almost a century and feels strongly about running there because of his family history. Wouldn’t mind seeing a doctor knowledgeable about healthcare policy replace the guy trying to strip seniors of Medicare!

  3. …was how unhinged they got during the redistricting fight. Their objections went immediately beyond reactions to the maps and instead went personal on the Senate President — which always amused me since one would assume that their professed goal of passing a bill would be hampered by questioning the integrity of the people whose votes you need.

    McNulty’s punching for his friend Cory. Any bluster about how confident the GOP is in their incumbents has to be considered against the anxiety of the national congressional polling and the foolish vote on the Ryan budget.

    1. What struck me was McNulty’s determination to accuse Shaffer of drawing a district to favor himself, even though Dem maps drew CD-4 with 10 point GOP registration edge. It became obvious that this talking point was going to be repeated into the ground whether or not it was even remotely true.

      He was running interference for Cory Gardner the whole time…

  4. Republicans will have to come up with something better than The Deficit to convince the independent voters to vote against their own self-interest.

    I just don’t see a frightening future scenario like 9/11 or brown skins coming across the border that will scare enough folks into voting for them this time.  They certainly can’t lay claim to any rational and aggressive job creation records.  Republicans are perhaps even deeper in the hole when it comes to the economy.  Nada for all the bragging and boasting.  “Democrats soft on terrorism” isn’t going to sell next year either.  Obama took away that claim from them completely.

    This could be payback by the national party for sticking with Bennet and breaking the 2010 wave.  If Colorado Dems. could get Bennet elected in 2010 then they have a shot some national support to unseat these ideologues in 2012.

  5. I know you were just about to update (ha ha).

    Colorado Republican Chairman Ryan Call’s Statement on Senate President Brandon Shaffer’s Intention to Run for Congress

    GREENWOOD VILLAGE – State Chairman Ryan Call of the Colorado Republican Party issued the following statement in response to today’s news reports indicating the intentions of Democratic Senate President Brandon Shaffer to run for the U.S. Congress:

    “During the past legislative session, we saw time and again how Senator Shaffer voted against thoughtful legislation that would have reduced the tax and regulatory burdens on small businesses, and blocked reforms designed to stimulate economic growth and job creation in our state.  Adding insult to injury, he ignored hundreds of hours of citizen testimony and sabotaged every attempt by Republicans to consider and vote on a reasonable compromise for Congressional redistricting that now will have to be drawn by the courts.  And now we know why – Senator Shaffer proved today that hisonly real interest was to draw a congressional district to suit his own political ambitions, rather than adopting a fair and representative map that protected Colorado’s distinct geographic regions and communities of interest.”

    “Colorado voters will not be fooled, nor will they reward politicians who put politics ahead of the people.”

    1. That bastard Shaffer would only spot you guys a 10% advantage —  The nerve!

      But Call’s words are prophetic when GOP strategists post-mortem their 2012 defeats:

      “Colorado voters will not be fooled, nor will they reward politicians who put politics ahead of the people.”

    2. I will happily & strongly support Shaffer for congress. He would be a thoughtful and open-minded representative. He would also act as a grown-up, unlike the morons who will throw away 200+ years effort that make our debt the safest investment in the world – just to score a couple of political points.

      1. Like many independent voters…Tipton is a disaster and will undoubtedly go back to his pottery shop in disgrace, as he should.

        Would more can you tell me about Shaffer?

        1. Brandon has been president of the Senate for this session and last. I think he’s a large part of why we had a lot of success in the previous session addressing big issues. And he managed to pull in the Republicans for a number of those contentious issues.

          That’s why I really like him – he managed to get legislation passed to address very hard problems rather than kicking the can down the road. With that said, success truly had many parents as it took all of them working together from Governor Ritter to many in the legislature. But Brandon was a key member of that success.

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