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Ryan Frazier wins 7th Congressional District Republican primary: How did his star rise?

Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier fought off stiff competition from Lang Sias last night to score the GOP's nomination in the 7th Congressional District.

Now he faces a bigger challenge taking on Democratic incumbent Ed Perlmutter -- but as a 2008 Westword profile notes, Frazier has a history of staring down strong competition.

As reported in "Ryan Frazier Puts His Job on the Line With Amendment 47," the 32-year-old Frazier -- only the second African American ever nominated to run for a federal office by Colorado Republicans -- caught the public's attention two years ago by becoming the unlikely public face of a controversial right-to-work measure going to the polls.

National labor interests were so inflamed by measure, which they saw as a blatant attempt at union-busting, that they inserted four "poison pill" measures on the ballot that could have caused statewide financial havoc. They also launched a multimillion-dollar smear campaign against Frazier and his cohorts and turned many of right-to-work's expected allies into opponents.

It seemed that Frazier was risking his political career for a cause that didn't make sense, considering his markedly liberal views on subjects like abortion and gay marriage. Some wondered if it was all a ploy to climb the political ladder.

In the end, the right-to-work measure failed -- but as yesterday's election results demonstrated, Frazier didn't come out worse for wear.

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner