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December 18, 2006 09:22 PM UTC

Udall Colorado's Top Congressman

  • by: Colorado Pols

Last year Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez was the Colorado congressman with the most juice in Washington D.C., in large part because of his post on the powerful Ways & Means committee. But now that Beauprez is gone, that unofficial title probably moves to Democratic Rep. Mark Udall.

With Democrats in control of the House, the discussion really only involves two people: Udall and Rep. Diana DeGette. Rep. John Salazar hasn’t shown a real interest in taking a leadership role, and Ed Perlmutter is a freshman legislator. Udall gets the nod because he sits on bigger committees and has the extra support of Perlmutter from having done so much to help get him elected.

In addition to being on the Resources committee, Udall sits in the Armed Services committee, which is of particular interest in a state with such a large military presence. Udall is also expected to pick up a chairmanship on the Space Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, which is one of the more fun committees to head up (Udall will get invited to NASA to try out weightlessness and play with the newest gadgets, etc.) Udall’s subcommittee chair could be of big interest in Colorado as well, with Littleton’s Lockheed Martin one of NASA’s biggest business partners. 

With Democrats running the show in DC, and with Udall’s seniority rising along with his committee assignments, the CD-2 Representative is probably now Colorado’s go-to congressman.


29 thoughts on “Udall Colorado’s Top Congressman

  1. This could be a good launching pad for his senatorial campaign. He sits on two major committees both of which can impact colorado, neither of which are in his district. This is now the time to for him to build up a strong consensus to  garner those votes in the vastly republican littleton area and the springs.

  2. DeGette is the go-to member of the Colorado delegation. 

    First, she is senior to Udall in a body that still values seniority. 

    Second, as a Chief Deputy Whip and a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, she is in leadership and helps to set the Democrats’ agenda. 

    Third, she is a member of one of the three exclusive committees, Energy and Commerce.  Energy and Commerce is much more powerful than either Resources or Armed Services.

    Fourth, DeGette has gained a national profile with her passage of her stem cell research funding legislation, which is one of the “Six for ’06” bills that the House Democrats are highlighting. 

    Fifth, Udall’s clout in the House will be compromised by his campaign for the Senate.  He will be taking time away from House business to campaign in Colorado and, furthermore, unlike DeGette, everyone knows he won’t be around in two years. 

    Sixth, not only did DeGette campaign hard for Perlmutter, but she also worked for a number of the House freshmen, who are very loyal to her. 

    Udall is a very nice guy, but he’s not the top member of the Colorado delegation.

      1. I note that ColoPols labeled Udall “Colorado’s Top Congressman”; given that DeGette is a “Congresswoman”, they are technically correct.  DeGette would, of course, be “Colorado’s Top Congresswoman”.

        If they were to use a gender neutral term, say “Colorado’s Top Member of Congress” then they would need to apply that to DeGette.

  3. Udall and DeGette are both hard working well liked Members of Congress.
    Colorado can really use both of them focusing their full attention on helping the State.
    I’m hoping that Udall stays where he is and builds up more seniority and one day assumes his late Father’s Committee chairmanship. In the House Udall can accomplish great things. Why risk on a run for the US Senate that is at best a 50/50 chance? My prediction is that Udall decides not to run for the Senate.

  4. These postings are making me a bit ill!  When either Udall or DeGette are referred to as the “GO TO PEOPLE” I throw up a little in the back of my mouth.

      1. Beauprez had little clout on the Hill.  He was a predictable vote for the Bush Administration’s position on whatever bill was under consideration.  Beauprez showed minimal interest in policy issues.  Did you ever see him shepherd a bill through the House or take the lead on a major piece of legislation?

        Beauprez was given a plum committee assignment, not because he was a rising star in the House, but because he was in a marginal district.

  5. Udall is finally in a leadership position.
    He should not risk it on a risky run for the US Senate.
    Whomever takes his place will start at the bottom.
    A 61 year old first term woman will not be given a leadership position in Congress. Stay Mark Stay

    1. How may millions have the Udall boys “sucked off the tit of the American taxpayer”???? Can’t any of them find a job???? The Udall family reminds me of maggots feeding on a dead carcus. Enough, Mr. Udall, enough!!!!

        1. Who cost taxpayers millions to bail out his part of the S&L problem, while he walked away with his millions.

          Also, Neil is now a participant in a scheme to skim off millions from the No Child Left Behind BS.

          He is making money on a program his brother instituted.

          1. judge each candidate based on what they bring to the table (and of course, their party)….regardless of lineage.

            I don’t think that Udall should be discounted simply based on who his father was any more than I think Bill Clinton should have been discounted based on who his father was.

      1. maybe you should do your research more thoroughly, as whether you agree with his stance or not randy udall is not a politician and works very hard for the causes in which he believes. so dont bite all of the udalls just yet coldawg! 🙂

      2. They have found jobs, and apparently enough people like them to keep offering them the job. You could always run against Mark, and see what happens, but then you might end up sucking of the tit of the american taxpayer. The horror.

  6. Check this out:

    The Udall Family on Wikipedia

    Some famous quotes by Morris “Mo” Udall:

    “I have learned the difference between a cactus and a caucus. On a cactus, the pricks are on the outside.”

    “One puts on black robes to scare the hell out of white people, while the other puts on white robes to scare the hell out of blacks.”

    “The ability to change one’s views without losing one’s seat is the mark of a great politician.”

    The Udalls are much more influential in Washington than the De Gette’s or Salazars or Allards or … whomever will ever be.

    Of course, even members of dynasties can screw up. Like, Neil Bush and Silverado, for example. I think the last official reason for that snafu was dyslexia, or something.

    1. Mark Udall is not Mo, any more than Patrick Kennedy is Teddy.  Mo Udall became a force in Congress after he gave up on trying to get elected President and focused on passing legislation.  Mark has not yet reached that point in his career, nor has he emerged from his father’s large shadow.

      Mark is very popular in Washington and he is a terribly nice guy, but he’s not taken all that seriously on the Hill.  Shortly after the election, the National Journal termed DeGette a “deal-maker,” but described Udall as the “second best golfer in the House” and one of the most physically fit Members.  That’s not how you want the insiders to view you.

  7. They must be Colorado’s “run-away-from” congressmen.

    I’m sure Lockheed Martin is thrilled to pieces that its own Congressman is Tom “Accomplish Nothing, Say Anything” Tancredo. Plenty of clout there… NAAAT!

  8. Diana DeGette was tacitly supporting Peggy Lamm while Udall had the guts to step up and realize that only Ed Perlmutter could win the seat for the Democrats. Udall is not afraid to make tough choices.
    I hope that he stays in Congress and builds his power base.
    DeGette tried to move up the leadership ladder and got nowhere. Udall has a subcommittee chair and a slot on Armerd Services. Energy and Commerce was once a huge committee but when the Republicans took control in 1994 they stripped away a lot of its power.

    1. DeGette remained neutral during the Perlmutter/Lamm primary.  She did not “tacitly support” anyone.  Furthermore, she worked with both camps to attempt to stop the negative campaigning.

      DeGette sought to move up the leadership ladder and was named a Chief Deputy Whip.  She also serves on the House Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee.  The National Journal described DeGette as one of the House Dems’ “deal-makers.”

      The Energy and Commerce Committee remains one of the three most powerful Committees in the House.  Just ask John Dingell whether Energy and Commmerce is no longer a “huge committee.”

      When Udall was forced to make a tough choice, he sided with the radical House Republicans and voted for a horrendous racist and punitive immigration bill that was even too extreme for President Bush.

      Udall is a very nice guy, as well as a pretty good golfer {per the National Journal), but he’s not a key Member in the 110th Congress.

      1. I’ve gotta agree…not that it matters as all of CO’s delegation lacks the clout to get anything done.  Though I’m pretty sure that John Dingell needs one of his staffers to remind him what he had for breakfast, let alone how important his committe is 😛

  9. Udall should stay put in the House of Representatives. Udall has real power and influence. Why should he risk what he now has for a long shot run for the US Senate.

  10. Seems like a lot of people are arguing that Udall doesn’t carry much clout on the Hill, but at the same time are hoping that he doesn’t run in ’08 so that he doesn’t lose his influential position?  I’m missing the logic here.  If the guy is just an upwardly mobile but fairly ineffectual lawmaker, then why not move him to the Senate, raising CO’s tally to two Democrats.  In the meantime, I doubt it will be too difficult to get another Dem in Udall’s House seat.

    Besides the perpetual Hickenlooper question, which I don’t think anybody takes seriously this time around, Udall is the Dem with the best chances and resources for the senate, so I’m not sure what the downside is.  Thinking in terms of larger strategy, if Udall can win a Senate seat, he’s likely to hold it for some time and eventually wield more influence on Colorado’s behalf than if he remained in the House, where many claim he doesn’t get much done. Add that to the larger strategic agenda of building a little margin in the Senate in case some seats are lost here and there, and I really don’t see a downside.

    That being said, I actually don’t agree that Udall is less powerful than DeGette. On the wish-washy side, they’re both great Reps in my opinion – hardworking, honest, and progressive. 

    1. Udall doesnt carry much clout NOW, but if he sticks around, he will eventually.  Not that being the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee chair is a position of great authority… but it’s something.

      Looking at the big picture though, he’s definantly more valuable in the Senate than in the House.  Besides, what other Dem aside from Hick would enter this race as the odds on favorite to win???

        1. I haven’t even heard Salazar rumored, although he would be a fairly strong candidate.  I’m fairly certain that even if he were interested that he’d probably defer to Udall since he’s basically at the top of the heap for the Dems right now and people have been anticipating him running in ’08 for some time.  Doesn’t seem like the kind of move Salazar would make, I think he’s pleased to represent his local constituency’s issues for now.

          I really don’t see a downside to Udall going for the Senate even though he’s made some ground in the House.  We have some strong, promising Democratic Reps from CO now, and if DeGette is really the strongest legislative force we have as so many are claiming, then what’s the difference? Another Dem will certainly take Udall’s spot if he moves to the Senate.  It would be hard for anybody to call Colorado a ‘purple’ state anymore with two Democratic Senators, a Governor, and the state legislature, plus a majority of Democratic Reps in Congress.

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