Mike Fallon, Diana DeGette opponent and GOP Young Gun, finally gets on Mike Rosen's show
There are no national polls gauging Colorado's 1st Congressional District race.
Staunchly Democratic Denver is widely viewed as a lock for incumbent Diana DeGette, who has held the seat since 1997.
But there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that Republican newcomer Mike Fallon is picking-up steam.
Earlier in the campaign cycle, Fallon reached out to Denver conservative radio behemoth Mike Rosen to see if he could book some airtime. But the candidate was told it would be a waste of time to have him on because he didn't have a chance to win, says Fallon campaign manager Michelle Lyng.
Things have changed. Rosen had Fallon in-studio for a forty-minute segment on Wednesday.
Rosen's production manager, David Lauer, downplays the perceived slight.
"It just appealed to Mike to have him on now, especially since that district has pretty much always been a lock for Democrats," he explains. "DeGette's opposition almost never gets any publicity there, so we thought it would be interesting to hear what his views are."
Whatever the reason, Fallon's radio appearance couldn't have been better timed. It coincided with a release by the National Republican Congressional Committee that designated Fallon as "On the Radar" for their Young Guns program.
The three-tiered program is a way for the party to track rising candidates or inject funds into competitive races. However, at Fallon's "On the Radar" level, it's predominantly a titular tool to be used as kerosene for his campaign. So while it's unlikely that Fallon will receive funding from the national level in this cycle, NRCC spokesman Greg Blair says they'll be watching the race closely:
"He's met a lot of our key metrics, although we typically try to reserve funding for the most competitive races," Blair says. "But we don't want to leave any possibilities on the table. That's the point of having him on our radar -- in case the race turns or the environment gets so bad for Democrats that this becomes winnable."
But that may be a moot point. Fallon says increased attention from the program has already resulted in an uptick in base enthusiasm that has yielded quantifiable results. "Our fundraising has clipped up quite a bit," he says. "We've received online donations, phone calls, checks being dropped off. It gives legitimacy to what we're doing and confidence that we're making inroads in Denver."
This has not gone unnoticed in the DeGette camp. Yesterday, the Congresswoman sent out a fundraising letter that cited Fallon's Young Guns status. The letter reads in part:
"The NRCC named my opponent, Mike Fallon, to their "On the Radar" watch list, alerting GOP donors and activists that they see a potential opportunity to win in my district... will you make an immediate contribution to my campaign to ensure that we have the resources to fight back against Fallon and the NRCC?"
Still, DeGette doesn't seem to be in panic mode just yet. In fact, her campaign strategy has been the polar opposite of Fallon's. Fallon has conducted town-hall meetings in bars and coffee-shops around Denver, and he's also been active on Twitter and Facebook.
And DeGette? She did show-up to meet her rival at the Allied Jewish Federation Candidate Forum on September 20, there are not currently any events scheduled on her website and her last Facebook update was a September 10 call to supporters to pick up their "DeGette for Congress" yard signs.
Fallon may have the momentum, but he still has a long row to hoe if he hopes to change his district's voting identity. Of course, all bets are off if a certain Mama Grizzly from Alaska decides to sprinkle golden tea leaves over Denver.
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