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Sunday, July 15, 2007

CO-02: Progressive Constituencies Battle in Primary

Colorado's 2nd CD seat is currently one of the few 2008 open seats. Rep. Mark Udall is expected to run for the open Senate seat, resulting in a crowded Democratic primary to replace him in the Democratic-leaning district centered on Boulder.

The race is shaping up into a three way contest - with state Senate president Joan Fitz-Gerald the early frontrunner over high-tech entrepreneur Jared Polis and environmentalist Will Shafroth it could be an unprecedented Democratic brawl - pitting powerful liberal constituencies against one another. The "Big Line" over at Colorado Pols lists the odds at this point in the race as follows:

Fitz-Gerald 3-1, Labor endorsement not unexpected, but still a big deal
Polis 10-1, Not off to a blazing start and has a lot of ground to cover
Shafroth 15-1, If he isn't raising good $ now, won't even make it to 2008


Those comments and odds were posted prior to the filing of Q2 fundraising reports. All of the candidates raised impressive amounts:

Polis $459K/$403K CoH (with $150K from his own pocket)
Shafroth $300K/$288K CoH
Fitz-Gerald $236K/$189K CoH.

Considering all of the candidates in CD-2 raised as much or more than CD-4 incumbent GOP Rep. MadCat Musgrave in anticipation of another tough re-election campaign, the amount of money pouring into the Democrats' coffers means the winner may have to spend over a million dollars and may be one of the most expensive in state history.

The 2nd CD is one of the most progressive in the Interior West - and provides an opportunity to elect a liberal Democrat. Polis' signature issue is education - and his dedication to progressive causes has brought him the support and interest from across the netroots. Fitz-Gerald is an experienced politician who was successful in convincing Colorado voters to support a ballot initiative to loosen the constitutionally-mandated "TABOR" budget restraints to address fiscal concerns - and has focused on healthcare issues. Shafroth is the Executive Director of the Colorado Conservation Trust and has a political pedigree in the state going back four generations.

What we have shaping up is a contest between the establishment candidate, the netroots activist candidate and the green candidate. Who emerges as the victor may be a precursor for the national party's future.

This is a primary battle we should all be paying attention to.

Cross-posted at An Enduring Democratic Majority.

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