Earlier today, former U.S. Senate candidate Ryan Frazier officially became current House candidate Ryan Frazier, announcing his intention to challenge Representative Ed Perlmutter in the 7th Congressional District during an appearance at, of all places, the Brighton Ford dealership. (The concept: Ford didn't take federal bailout money. Mmm-kay.) Shortly thereafter, the Colorado Democratic Party released an attack on Frazier, with chairwoman Pat Waak dismissing him as a "job-shopper" whose decision to switch targets "smacks of political opportunism."
This slap doesn't surprise Colorado House minority leader Mike May, who introduced Frazier at the shindig. "I know they're trying to be dismissive, but the Perlmutter folks sure showed up in force. They were waving Perlmutter signs along the street," he says. "They must be concerned, or they would have ignored him. Apparently, they don't think their candidate is invincible."
According to May, he's spent time over the past few days talking with Frazier "as he was contemplating a run for the 7th. He asked me if I would support him, and I said, 'Absolutely,'" in part because of their common background. "I served on the Parker Town Council for five years, and he was on the Aurora council. And when you're on a council, you see what impact government can have on individuals: how it can help and how it can cause grief. You need to be careful you're going down the right road, because you're working with your neighbors, and they know where you live. That makes it an easy lesson to learn."
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Just as simple to understand: A political candidate is in big trouble if he can't raise enough money to be competitive -- Frazier's problem during his abbreviated Senate race, in which former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton is now the Republican frontrunner as measured by both popularity and donations. But May downplays dollars and cents in respect to the 7th, choosing instead to praise Frazier's skills on the stump: "As we move into 2010, I think we've got the right message -- but you need to have someone to deliver that message. You can have the financing, you can have everything, but if you can't articulate what you want to do, you can't do anything. And Ryan is extremely articulate, an outstanding speaker."
He's also young -- which is why May considers him to be one of the Colorado Republicans' "fresh horses" along with gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry and 4th District hopeful Cory Gardner. He thinks their age will serve them well as the campaign goes from a simmer to a boil.
"There were a lot of Republicans who thought they were in safe congressional seats in 2008, just like there were a lot of Democrats who thought they were in safe seats in the early '90s," he says. "But there's no such thing as a safe seat when the public gets angry -- and the 7th has been extremely competitive since its inception. So I'm looking forward to a good battle of ideas. And I think the voters will pick the right guy."