Andy Kerr Won’t Have Primary Challenge After All

UPDATE: Press release from Carroll after the jump, with full spin included.


Democrat Brian Carroll had an interesting storyline to tout as a potential candidate for State Representative in Lakewood. Carroll’s campaign announcement last month noted the fact that he would be the first openly-gay soldier to run for office in the U.S. since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which would probably generate some nice press for him in 2012.

Nice story. Wrong time, wrong place. Incumbent Rep. Andy Kerr is running for his final term in HD-28, and there was little support for Carroll’s challenge to the popular Democrat.

Carroll’s campaign kickoff was scheduled for Nov. 10, but we’ve heard internal rumblings that Carroll is set to announce that he won’t be staging a primary against Kerr after all. This is a smart move for Carroll, since any political future he might have would have been significantly damaged in 2012. He had little hope of defeating the popular and well-known Kerr, and if he damaged Kerr in advance of a general election, he would have burned a lot of bridges for no good reason. It makes far more sense for him to back off and wait two years.

***Brian Carroll Appointed Interim Chair of Colorado Democratic Veterans and Military Council***

Carroll steps out of State House Race to focus on Veterans Affairs Statewide

Denver, CO – Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio announced today that he has appointed former State House Candidate Brian Carroll as the interim Chair of the first Colorado Democratic Veterans and Military Council for the Colorado Democratic Party.

An active Colorado National Guardsman, Carroll will forgo his bid for the Colorado State House and will immediately take over as the interim Chair of the Colorado Democratic Veterans and Military Council. As interim Chair, Carroll will lead statewide efforts to support the nearly 425,000 Veterans[1] in the State of Colorado and the thousands of additional service members[2] that are anticipated to return to the State with the draw-down of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“As of 2010, Colorado ranked in the bottom third nationally in funding per Veteran,” commented Brian Carroll. Carroll continued, “Veterans in the State of Colorado and across the nation have struggled to get the resources they deserve and the Colorado Democratic Party is showing its commitment to our Armed Forces with the creation of this Veterans and Military Council.”

“As a three tour Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand firsthand the challenges that our service members face when they return from active duty,” said Brian. He concluded, “After selflessly serving our country, many Veterans are not enjoying the healthy and secure lives they deserve. As interim Chair of the Colorado Democratic Veterans and Military Council, I will work tirelessly to provide the necessary leadership on Veterans’ issues and make certain that those returning to Colorado get the support they need. While I must discontinue my campaign for the State House of Representatives, the opportunity to help nearly half-a-million Veterans statewide is an immediate challenge that I cannot back-down from. I will continue my commitment to Lakewood and House District 28 as we tackle the challenges we face and I look forward to bringing my experience and leadership to the Colorado Democratic Party to support Veterans across Colorado.”

65 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    Listen, don’t write Brian Carroll off forever. Let him come back in the right time and place, with better advice, and he could have a bright future.

    This was a real show of smarts. Let’s not forget it.

  2. Ah Choo says:

    Let’s not forget who Andy Kerr is really running against–and why defeating him is so important:

    Only after being confronted with the information obtained from the staff member did Summers concede that Teen Challenge has worked to “convert” gays to straight lives. But such treatment was secondary to drug therapy, he said, in explaining his previous response.

    “I don’t think there have been that many in our program,” he said. “If people come to us for help, we’re going to tell them what the Bible says.”…

    …But homosexuality is a behavior, Summers contends, a choice that can be changed – or controlled.

    “The whole issue of sexual identity is very complicated,” he said, noting the Teen Challenge program confronts homosexuality through counseling and scripture.

    “Those individuals have experienced some kind of violation in their history,” he said. “Many of them have been abused as a child, sexually.”

    Summers also said homosexual behavior is often a side effect of drug abuse.

  3. redstateblues says:

    but now that it’s probably over before it really began, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out the extreme irony of some of the people complaining about this primary.

    Extreme. Irony.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      We have bigger fish to fry, namely Summers. We need to keep this seat in order to meet our goal of taking back the House and moreover, we need someone sane to represent HD28.

      Good on Carroll and the Colorado Democratic Party for the way they handled this and for keeping their eye on the ball and the real goal here.

      As for Andy Szekeres, I’d dearly love to hear from him what the hell he was thinking. His counsel to Mr. Carroll was beyond terrible and with the amount of experience he has in campaigns, I’m in the dark as to where he was coming from with this one.  

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Andy Kerr is a popular, three-term Democrat with just once term left to serve. Nobody knows who Brian Carroll is, and he had virtually no chance to beat Kerr. There was NO good reason for him to run in 2012.

      • Colorado Pols says:

        You always have the “right” to run for office, but that doesn’t mean you are automatically insulated from criticism for making that decision. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. We never questioned his “right” to run, but we absolutely questioned his rationale for where and when.  

      • redstateblues says:

        I was talking about some… less consistent… politicos.

        • Colorado Pols says:

          But we still think the comparisons are different, if you are implying there is some correlation with the Bennet-Romanoff race. This wasn’t even remotely similar.

          • redstateblues says:

            just the arguments some were making back then, compared to the arguments those same people are making right now. There is an air of similarity to them, and it makes me mildly disgusted.

            • nancycronk says:

              “Primaries are good and noble and patriotic, and…”(insert popular adjectives here), even if one Dem primaries another good Dem who’s already in office.”

              “It’s good for the party”.

              Blah, blah, blah…

              Brian Carroll may not be Andrew Romanoff, but I get the irony, rsb.  

              • scj says:

                Reminder…….  Rep Andy Kerr is and was a very strong supporter of Andrew Romanoff’s I think you need to reverse your apples to oranges comparisons there Nancy. Andrew Romanoff ran for U.S. Senate  He already was HD and SD and Speaker of the House remember. Not a good or viable comparison. Perhaps you need to look at State office primaries for a good comparison.  Also Brian didn’t live in Kerr’s district when he thought about running and then there was reapportionment. Personally I like them both but Kerr is an amazing Representative and I will support him. Brian did the right thing. It’s a NON Point now. Brian’s appointment to the Veterans Committee is also the right move. You will be seeing and learning more about Brian in the future of Colorado State politics.

                Andy S. is an amazing campaign worker and trainer for DFA. Not only is his opinion respected by many paid campaign workers and candidates but he’s a good friend for talking with Brian. Especially since Brian didn’t live in Kerr’s district before reapportionment.  

      • TheDeminator says:

        It’s great to see so many questions on why Carroll ran.  Carroll wanted to run as his friend I helped him do so.  Noting the level of press coverage he already has gotten both locally and nationally we put him in a place where people paid attention.

        He knew the hurdles he had in front of him yet still wanted to go forward long before he asked me for help.  As his friend I offered my guidance and support in his efforts as I would and will for any of my friends choose to run for office… no matter what office.

        Brian will do great work for the party in support of Veterans, it was a wise move for the party to ask him to lead this council.

        – Andy Szekeres  

        • Middle of the Road says:

          him to run against Kerr. I do like you and I know how hard you have worked here in Colorado and elsewhere. This was not your finest hour. Let’s leave it at that.  

        • Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

          Decisions are only unwise when they don’t work.

          I give Andy a lot of credit for being in the mix on so many Democratic races and issues.  I think both Brian and Andy will kicking political butt for years to come.

        • Ah Choo says:

          What you’ve really accomplished is to help Andy Kerr raise a bunch of money. What you didn’t accomplish was raise a bunch of national money for Brian Carroll.

          Brian lucked out in that party leadership gave him an out from an absurd kamikaze mission, which you help launch him on. They obviously see a lot of leadership potential in him.

          As for you, you simply look mercenary, for goading this guy down this path of self-abuse in the belief you would raise a bunch of LGBT money (up to the point Brian got crushed at the caucuses).  

          Spin away, but I bet (and hope) Brian is ruing such “friendship.” And I don’t think many people will buy your attempt to distance yourself from the disastrous decision making behind his candidacy.

          • TheDeminator says:

            That is right Andy Kerr is going to raise a large sum of money that he would not have raised if Brian was not in the race.

            As for your “understanding” of what happened you must be a mind reader. Keep on attacking me… it’s cute when you post anonymously.  

            • Careful on attacking anonymity, my brother

              I’d personally love to debate everyone over DisQus and know who they are over their Twitters and FaceBooks, but anonymity is valued in the forum here – let that point of attack go

              Love and peace to you brother – ALI

            • Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

              If anyone lives their life by the opinions on Pols you would never run for office.  I have yet to see all of us agree on a race outcome.

              Romanoff did the right thing.  He had a shot, if he would have attacked earlier and harder, he might be a Senator.

              Look, if your ego can handle the attacks from the other side and you have a a knack for fundraising and are somewhat interesting, i say go for it.  I would rather have incumbants challeged instead of having them sit in office for years and do nothing.  Can you say Diana DeGette and Doug Lamborn?

              Oh come on, EVERYONE of you has had THAT conversation! LOL

      • nancycronk says:

        And they didn’t have to do it the way Strandlof did. And for a couple twenty-something-year old guys, that’s impressive.  

        • WitnessProtectionForGeeks says:

          he should know better

        • baaramewe says:

          This guy received millions of hits on youtube when he was on the Price is Right, but that doesn’t mean he was impressive.

          They got to the showcase, and humiliated themselves. Glad this part is over.  

        • Ah Choo says:

          What’s impressive about alienating an important constituency, getting a bunch of bad press, looking bad, and then dropping out when reality finally sets in?

          Humiliating is right.

          • nancycronk says:

            And I don’t think they made any friends with those working for and with Andy Kerr. Add to that, Andy S and I have worked together in the past and it did not go well, although I completely supported and appreciated his work out-of-state in the GLBTQ fight for marriage equality.

            That said, as a new media strategist myself, I admire the chutzpah of these two. They put themselves in the middle of the limelight, with spotlights, and got far more air-time than either could otherwise. Both Kerr and Carroll got attention and came out ahead in the long run. I completely agree with Obvious and Ali (below).

            Heck, I really admire Republican strategist Christa Huff in Douglas County for her organizing abilities, too, although we are diametrically opposed politically. And for all the David Sirota bashing that goes on on Pols, he’s famous — we’re not. Who’s the genius?

            If Andy S. doesn’t think his career is going well enough in politics, he should consider being a Hollywood publicist.  

            • nancycronk says:

              Calling Andy S. —

              I want a job in government. Can you help me primary another good Dem somewhere so I can get an offer? Pretty please?

            • ScottWalkerHasGodlikeQualities says:

              And for all the David Sirota bashing that goes on on Pols, he’s famous — we’re not. Who’s the genius?

              Is being famous more important than being right?  Kim Kardashian is famous.  

              • Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

                Yeah, i would take the $1 billion and could less if you respected me or not!  Seriously?

                • nancycronk says:

                  Imagine the good her people could accomplish in the work if their resources were spent protecting our most vulnerable communities, or electing qualified populists to office?

                • Aristotle says:

                  You probably didn’t mean to come across that way, but this makes you sound like you have no values at all.

                  • Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

                    My only point is Kim K is not the issue when elected officials have no values.  Yes, she could spend her money on the common good.

                    (So could Coffman, Bennet, Udall, Degette, Biden, etc and all the othr millionaire and billionaires we pay a salary to)

                    However, she was not elected to do so, nor do we pay taxes to fund her salary or her antics.  Unfortunately, that is not true of politics.

                    And BTW, she does her job well, we are all entertained and she made money for her empire.  That unfortunately is more than we can say for the people whose salary we do pay and people who tell us they have good values when we hire them.

            • redstateblues says:

              But party positions like the one Carroll was appointed to don’t tend to be paid.

              I also think you’re assigning motives that don’t really exist. Carroll wanted to run for state house, that didn’t work out, so they tried to find something else for him. I don’t think their goal at the outset was to try to increase his name ID or profile. That was undoubtedly a strategy for their campaign, but I have a hard time believing it was for a PR stunt.

              • nancycronk says:

                If you know Andy S., you will know how sneaky and conniving he is (like it or not, in the world of political marketing, that is a huge compliment). I would not put it past Andy to find a candidate, flatter the candidate, prop the candidate, market the candidate, get the candidate all kinds of attention (good or bad, doesn’t matter), and come out with increased name recognition for Andy S.

                I’m just glad Andy is a progressive and does not work for Karl Rove.

                Is being famous more important than being right?  Kim Kardashian is famous.  

                And to scottwalkerhasgodlikequalities, you and I might think Kim Kardashian has no talent whatsoever and have disdain for a culture that made someone like that famous (I do), but if she decided to speak out against eating dolphins,

                or abortion,

                or land mines,

                or nuclear waste,

                or global warming,

                or human trafficking,

                or (pick your issue),

                she’d instantly have millions of followers making a difference.

                We don’t have to like the celebrity or candidate to have respect for the effectiveness of those who market them.  

        • Colorado Pols says:

          Most people with an interest in this race had likely never heard of Brian Carroll. Their first impression of him is now a negative impression. It’s not just that he tried to take on a popular Democrat in a primary — it’s that he wasn’t savvy enough to see the folly in trying to take on this race before he officially announced his candidacy.

          Sure, he can come back in 2014. But if he does, he’ll have a lot of people that will need to be convinced that he is not who they thought he was. There’s no victory there.

          • LakewoodTodd says:

            So maybe no one will read this… but I think the Pols comment is very accurate. While a lot of statewide leaders are saying “We’ll be behind  you in 2014,” there are some people in Lakewood scratching their heads.

            Before the redistricting maps were set and there was still a possibility that Rep. Kerr might run for the State Senate, there were several people (who have lived in Lakewood for more than a month) who were considering a run for this seat. Those people will still be there in 2014 and they will not take kindly to being told that a bunch of people outside the district are supporting someone who didn’t have the good sense to see that this kamikaze mission may well have helped Rep. Summers keep this redistricted seat.

  4. WitnessProtectionForGeeks says:

    I’m not anti primary, I’m just anti dumb primary.

    A real congratulations to Brian for his good judgment in recognizing the mess he walked in to and cutting his losses.

    Losses properly managed turn in to long term victories.

  5. Ralphie says:

    trotting Steve Harvey out of oblivion?

  6. Obvious Alias says:

    Reading this story and the comments, I’m amused more by what isn’t here than what is.  Was Carroll being considered for this position before?  Did it exist before?  I don’t know the answer to the second, but I doubt the first was a yes.

    Mostly there are a lot of comments about how terrible of an idea it was for this kid to run, but it looks like he’s getting a job with the party, Kerr just upped his hold on the base, and everybody walks away happy.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what Carroll and Szekeres had in mind all along — upped the guy’s profile, got him a role where he can get better connected for a few years, and when the time is right he can walk into a legislative seat with everyone behind him.

    Reminds me of a couple candidates for mayor last time around who had no chance of actually winning the thing.  Linkhart has a shiny new job in the administration, Spahn ends up with a new job at a law firm and is better known then before, etc.

    Think about these things in a larger context folks.

    • God Bless Representative Kerr for carrying the fight for the LGBT cause at this critical time

      That said – let us not forget (and I’ve run for a State House seat) we’re kinda treating State House seats like the Presidency

      Someone wanted to run. His friend wanted to help him. Simple as that.

      Personally, I believe Szekeres’s statement above is sincere, particularly because Carroll never criticized Kerr or opened his candidacy by getting ugly (which is critical, if you’re trying to unseat an incumbent)

      Did they cahoot in a backroom? I doubt it.

      And if they did – ya know what? It’s a State Rep seat – it’s not UN Secretary General – Good luck to Carroll and good luck to Kerr and may God Bless the Democratic Party!

      PS – you can guarantee the slow death of a State Party by getting WAY TOO RILED up over simple primary challenges – case in point? The COLORADO GOP

    • Colorado Pols says:

      He’s heading up a new volunteer committee of the Democratic Party, not taking a new full-time paid job.

  7. Gray in Mountains says:

    a chance to rpove he has something other than vet status to try to gain office at some point. Exactly what I was recommending a few days ago.

  8. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Didn’t see any kudos to him in the thread, so I figured I’d add some. Well played. Rather than writing off a young guy with potential over one lousy decision, they found him a role where he can make a difference.

    Only thing that’s a cryin’ shame here: That big fundraiser tomorrow is going to be a whole lot less interesting without something to complain about.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.