UPDATE: Politico’s David Catanese name drops the Peak when reporting on Shaffer and Pace’s blown announcements. Looks like everyone knows how much the Democrats screwed that one up now.
Communication has already broken down in the Democrat Party, this time with Nancy Pelosi's deputy, Congressman Steny Hoyer, jumping the gun and announcing that Senate President Brandon Shaffer and House Minority Leader Sal Pace are all set to run for Congress in 2012. The Denver Post's Chuck Plunkett broke the story just this evening, publishing comments from Hoyer indicating that Shaffer and Pace's campaigns were all but a foregone conclusion.
This is not a good sign for a cohesive Democrat campaign, especially since the new Democrat Party Chairman of Colorado, Rick Palacio, used to work for Steny Hoyer only a few short months ago. If Palacio can't even get his former boss to not step on the announcements of his two leading Congressional candidates then this cycle is going to be one unholy mess for Democrats.
Check Plunkett's story:
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says that state Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Rep. Sal Pace are “confident” about their chances to unseat newly elected Republican Reps. Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner in the next election cycle. “We do two, three, four visits to recruit” prospective candidates, Hoyer said. “None of yours have to be convinced.”
Hoyer’s statements come as a surprise. Shaffer, D-Longmont, and Pace, D-Pueblo, have been cagey about whether they will run.
…“I did meet with Hoyer today, and based on that meeting I’m likely to put a campaign together,” Pace said.
Shaffer didn’t respond to a request for an interview.
We've been predicting these two campaigns would go ahead for months now. Shaffer's negotiating stance on redistricting was clearly aimed at his coming Congressional campaign and Pace has been issuing press releases for months like he was already running in the Democrat primary. Pace may have a Democrat primary according to Plunkett, who reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been in talks with Perry Haney, a wealthy surgeon from Greenwood Village who also owns property in the current 3rd CD.
It didn’t take any convincing for Pace and Shaffer since neither of them really have anything better to do with their political careers. After another year of leadership failure as Senate President, Shaffer seems all too eager to get out and try his hand at a run for Congress. Pace, facing struggles in the Democrat House Minority, may have better luck convincing voters of the 3rd CD that he could be better than his former mentor John Salazar and just as good as Scott McInnis once was. But we doubt it.
The news of Shaffer's impending campaign means that, as we pointed out on Tuesday, the "blame Brandon" messaging strategy in redistricting plays out perfectly. Voters will have a hard time believing Shaffer's spin that his own political ambitions played no role in his attempt to gerrymander the 4th CD, a ploy we dubbed the "Brandon-Mander."
Pace, on the other hand, is praying that the Brandon-Mander fails, as the Democrat map was drawn to benefit Shaffer's political future at the expense of Pace's. Even if Pace lucks out and the court sides with Republicans (and practically every editorial board in the state) he'll still have an uphill battle explaining to the West Slope why it was he let his own party slice and dice them into mince meat. He'll also have to explain how if he didn't have the clout to convince his own party in Denver to do the right thing for Western Colorado and the Arkansas Valley, why it is he thinks he can convince his fellow Democrats in Washington to do so. And no, Sal, your fist is not going to get you anywhere in DC.
So it's off to the races. Somebody better tell Rick Palacio.