State Senate President Brandon Shaffer, affectionately known on this site as T-GRAC, or The Guy Running Against Cory (Gardner), told The Denver Post yesterday that he plans to continue as Senate President, despite his sure-to-fail run for Congress. This is bad news for T-GRAC and his legislative caucus, in addition to his Congressional ambitions, as he has now basically ensured failure on both fronts.
We bet state Senators Mike Johnston and Morgan Carroll are none-too-pleased at the uphill battle to success that Shaffer is laying down for them.
Shaffer's rapacious ambition to suck up all the power he can absorb is likely to consume his caucus and create unnecessary headaches for the Democrats' legislative priorities in the upper chamber. If he thinks he can use his bully pulpit atop the state Senate to run for Congress without being made a target over every bill and statement, he is sorely mistaken.
After T-GRAC's party vindictively put Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman into the same district as Senator Keith King during reapportionment, which even Governor Hickenlooper criticized, there was already going to be bad blood. Now that bad blood will come to a boil.
Not only do we expect him to suffer the slings and arrows of being a political target, but he won't be able to raise money from lobbyists until May due to laws forbidding donations from lobbyists while the Legislature is in session. As the 4th Congressional district was thrown on the chopping block in redistricting to put the target on Congressman Mike Coffman's (R-Aurora) back, his fundraising was already imperiled. Now it's going to dry up like the Sahara desert.
There is a reason we have heard not a peep from Shaffer's camp on his 4th quarter fundraising haul — and it's not because it's impressively big.
In addition to his severely curtailed fundraising abilities, by even staying in the Legislature he is throwing away months of travel time across the district. As the 4th CD is a sprawling district, taking hours to even drive across it, it would take someone not engaged in the daily battles of the Legislature to properly traverse it. Seeing that Shaffer let the Eastern Plains get stomped on throughout the redistricting process, it's clear he doesn't have much concern for much of the district anyhow.
We think his decision to stay on as Senate President is a monumentally stupid decision, but we welcome it anyway. If he is going to lose, he might as well lose spectacularly, and we wouldn't mind watching him drag down his caucus with him.
As Lynn Bartels points out, T-GRAC is going the path of Stan Matsunaka, another Democrat Senate President who got walloped in the 4th Congressional district.
This time, though, we bet Matsunaka's loss looks like Florida 2000 compared to the margin Shaffer will be slaughtered by.