It's an all out civil war out there for Democrat politicians in Colorado. The Democrats' redistricting map submitted to the court yesterday was a shot not across Senate President and CD4 candidate Brandon Shaffer's bow, but directly at the skipper himself. The map submitted by the legal team representing the state Democrat Party would end Brandon Shaffer's chances at winning CD4 in one fell swoop.
The map would move Democrat-heavy Ft. Collins out of CD4 and in with the People's Republic of Boulder in Jared Polis's CD2, making CD4 more Billy Graham than Ted Haggard when it comes to its swing-able tendencies. Not only is the district no longer winnable by a Democrat, but to add insult to injury, the map draws Shaffer's home in Longmont completely out of CD4.
That makes no difference to Shaffer who told The Denver Post he's running for the 4th CD, regardless of who he has to represent. Remember, to Shaffer a job in Congress is more important than the community he will represent.
We're betting Shaffer had wished he had allowed for a legislative compromise now. In one of the stranger moments in legislative history, Shaffer had his Senate Democrat caucus actually filibuster their own redistricting map legislation in the waning days of the session. Maybe power brokers figured if Shaffer was dumb enough to filibuster his own bill he wasn't worth fighting for in court.
The map is a clear sign Shaffer doesn't have the cache with the party power brokers he might have thought would come part and parcel with being the most powerful legislative Democrat in Colorado.
This intra-party warfare comes closely on the heels of a Democrat backstabbing in redistricting's state legislative cousin, reapportionment.
Last week we learned that state Senate Democrats had gotten the upper hand in reapportionment, the process of redrawing all 65 House and 35 Senate seats, over their "friends" in the state House, because the one proxy state House Democrats thought they had on the reapportionment commission was actually secretly out for his own state Senate ambitions.
When Rep. Matt Jones (D-Louisville) announced his intentions to run for the state Senate, observers quickly understood why when the commission's Democrats had to pick one Chamber to fight for in reapportionment, they chose the upper one, and the one Jones hopes to serve in.
We're guessing the powers that be in the Colorado Democrat Party, spelled S-T-R-Y-K-E-R, did some polling and decided they aren't wasting their time letting Brandon Shaffer "Brandon-Mander" his own personal Congressional district at the expense of more winnable districts.
Like Rick "Google" Santorum, a candidate who can't control their online persona probably won't hold up well in the live fire exercise of a general election. For Brandon Shaffer, just search his name in Youtube and you'll understand.
This map is a clear pen and paper reflection of the wishes of Pat Stryker, Al Yates, and the real forces behind Democrat Party decisions in Colorado.
On reapportionment, a long time majority in the state Senate was more important than a Speaker Ferrandino. On redistricting, beating Scott Tipton and Mike Coffman was more important than throwing good dollars after bad in an certain-to-fail attempt at taking down Cory Gardner.
Of course Coffman fears nothing from this map, despite Democrats desire to see him sweat. More on Coffman's district later.
As for CD3 and national Democrats overwhelming desire to beat Scott Tipton, this map may be as much of a waste of a redistricting position as the dollars they've spent attacking Tipton on the airwaves in the last couple of months. If the rumors are true that have been circulating among GOP operatives fast and furiously recently, CD3 won't be nearly the nail biter many Democrat operatives are pining for.
The kicker to the Democrat internecine warfare: their lawyer, Scott Martinez, pushed competitiveness to the press when outlining the Democrat position. Problem is, he forgot to check with Reapportionment Co-Chairman Wellington Webb, who said famously:
“Competitiveness is not one of the constitutional criteria I remember taking an oath to uphold.”