Yesterday, Senate President Brandon Shaffer made official what he told Nancy Pelosi's deputy in May and has refused to acknowledge to Coloradans until now. He's running for Congress. After throwing away the end of the Legislature's session in an attempt to make the 4th Congressional District more Democrat, forcing the issue into the courts, Brandon Shaffer is now officially running for the seat that was the sticking point over his refusal to compromise.
In an effort to help give our readers an overview of this newest addition to the Congressional races in 2012, here are five facts about Nancy Pelosi's Colorado hand-picked puppet:
1. Hot Head: More than anything else, Shaffer is known for his temper down at the Capitol. Journalists joked over Twitter that they were waiting for his head to explode during redistricting. His temper is legendary even among his Democrat colleagues, but it garnered the most ink this past session in his battles with House Speaker Frank McNulty. Between walking out of redistricting meetings with McNulty and Governor Hickenlooper, or storming out of restaurants, Shaffer's behavior has been defined by its close resemblance to an 8 year old bipolar child off his meds.
It's not just this session that has seen its fair share of Shaffer storm outs or Brandon blow ups. Last year, he nearly came to blows with Senator Shawn Mitchell when he cut off Mitchell's mic after Mitchell complained about the political theater Shaffer was putting on, letting Democrats with tough re-elections take turns voting against tax hike measures that were certain to pass. Shaffer was forced to eat crow for his behavior then, and we're almost certain to see a repeat performance next session.
This should yield some interesting moments on the campaign trail with voters who don't count themselves among his biggest fans, or trackers with a camera and a good sense of timing.
2. Down The Line Liberal: Shaffer voted for all of Ritter's tax increases, rubber stamped Ritter's oil and gas rules, and shepherded the $250 million car fee hike through as Majority Leader. His legislative record may please Nancy Pelosi, but it's not going to jive well with the conservative underpinnings of the 4th CD.
With Shaffer's desire to run for Congress one of the worst kept secrets in Denver for some time now, oppo researchers have been watching Shaffer's votes closely. Sources tell us it's a veritable feast of tax/fee hikes and waterboy errands for failed former Governor Bill Ritter.
Liberal Democrat Senate Presidents haven't had much luck in the 4th. Just ask Stan Matsunaka. He couldn't even beat the less-than-beloved Marilyn Musgrave.
3. Poor Orator: In a marked contrast to Congressman Cory Gardner, Shaffer is not known for his eloquence or crowd pleasing oratory. If his past attempts at giving speeches are any indication, journalists forced to cover his campaign are in for some good opportunities to beat that next level of Angry Birds.
He could bore our grandmother to death with his speeches. And she passed away 10 years ago.
4. Mediocre Campaigner: After he inherited the state Senate majority, he let Sens. Mike Johnston and Morgan Carroll do all the work raising money. If the less than lackluster Senate fundraiser held to honor his so-called legislative accomplishments is any sign, he will be relying heavily on the DCCC to develop his campaign kitty.
Gardner, on the other hand, raised more than any other member of the Colorado Congressional delegation in the first quarter. A dogged campaigner, Gardner should find it easy to outwork and outraise Shaffer.
5. Not A Fashion Maven: We don't say this to be trite. Check out Shaffer's announcement via Twitter. How many BBQ's did you go to yesterday where there was a dude wearing a button down dress shirt and shorts? And tennis shoes with high white socks. He looks more like a postal delivery man than a Congressman. Hey Brandon, Cliff Claven called and he wants his costume from Cheers back.
This all goes back to his lack of speaking ability and bland personality. People want to like and be energized by their elected officials. Shaffer just isn't going to fill that need.
In summary, the Brandon-Mander is a flawed fella'. Don't expect to call him Congressman anytime soon.