We know of quite a few Democrats who blame the loss of the majority in the State House squarely on the shoulders of former Rep. Debbie Benefield; when you lose your majority by a one-seat margin, it’s inevitable that people will look for someone to get the blame. Democrats with the House Majority Project and in leadership at the Capitol have come up with a laundry list of reasons why Debbie lost her race: She didn’t walk enough, she didn’t call enough, or she just didn’t have the enthusiasm. We don’t agree with all of those criticisms, but nevertheless, it was a foregone conclusion that the next Democratic candidate in HD-29 would be someone new.
That’s why we’re not surprised to have received this press release from JeffCo Dems chair Chris Kennedy championing someone other than Benefield to take on Republican Rep. Robert Ramirez.
Long-time Arvada resident Tracy Kraft-Tharp has announced her candidacy for the Colorado House of Representatives in House District 29, which includes parts of Arvada and Westminster in Jefferson County. Kraft-Tharp will be seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2012 election.
Kraft-Tharp has long been involved in the Arvada community while dedicating her career to serving people in need through social work, nonprofit management, legislative advocacy, and teaching.
Addressing her decision to run, Kraft-Tharp said, “I have been frustrated that the current State House leadership has only looked out for special interests and their tax breaks at the expense of investing in our kids and creating jobs. Arvada and Westminster deserve better, and I will fight to make sure our families all have a fair shot at the American Dream.”
First and foremost, this is a pretty bad press release. We first heard from sources several weeks ago that Kraft-Tharp was planning on staging a run, so a press release that essentially says “this woman is running for the state house,” is kind of a waste of ink. Everybody knew that already. The least you can do in a press release like this one is tell the media who the candidate is; this one doesn’t even tell us what she does for a living. She’s a resident? Good for her. Glad to know that she is legally able to run for the seat (for now, anyway)…but who the hell is she? That’s what a press release is supposed to explain.
Still, Democrats may be excited to have Kraft-Tharp in the race because, if nothing else, she’s a new face after a decade of Benefield and former Rep. and Sen. Sue Windels. Ramirez, by all accounts, is inept at campaigning and won by a combination of a good year, dumb luck, and a lazy incumbent. The district was represented by a Democrat for most of the last decade, even though many of those races were very close.
Kraft-Tharp may also luck out by way of the reapportionment process. It’s been widely acknowledged that Jeffco is going to lose a House seat, and Ramirez and Republican Libby Szabo may be drawn into the same seat at the same time that the makeup of HD-29 becomes more favorable for Democrats.