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Friday, February 17, 2006

CO-05: Hefley (R) Retiring - Band of Brothers' Fawcett Ready to Go

Posted by DavidNYC

Republican Rep. Joel Hefley (CO-05) announced today that he is retiring. That makes him the second Republican to announce a retirement this week (the first was Bill Jenkins, TN-01). Both districts are very conservative, but CO-05 is different. For one, we actually have a Dem already running. And for another, he happens to be a member of the Band of Brothers, Lt. Col. Jay Fawcett.

Lt. Col. Fawcett is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. He also earned a Bronze Star for his service during the Gulf War. I should add that Fawcett was also at the Band of Brothers rally in DC last week.

Now, this is a very Republican district, as I say - it went for Bush 66-33, which makes it roughly OH-02 territory. However, Hefley's retirement is the perfect illustration of why you run candidates in every district, no matter how hopeless the territory might seem at first blush.

• First off, open seats are always easier to win. Especially in a difficult district, it's a major plus. Sometimes, retirements are announced after filing deadlines have passed because some states allow late candidate substitution, but not late candidate filings. If you don't have someone already running, you're completely out of luck.

• Second, even though Fawcett still faces a tremendously uphill challenge, the fact that it's now an open seat race affects how the media will cover the campaign. With an open seat, the media are more likely to portray the race as a genuine challenge. That frame is more interesting for reporters, and Hefley's retirement lets them buy into it. A gadfly nipping at an entrenched incumbent is a boring story. An open seat always carries the chance for an upset.

• Third, it also means that Fawcett is likely to get a lot more media attention, which translates into greater name recognition should he want to run for office again later.

• Fourth, the GOP will waste money on a big primary here. (CO's primary is Aug. 8th.) It could also get very negative and ugly - Republican hopefuls will really be hungry for a potentially safe lifetime seat. This possibility increases the chance of a Dem upset.

• And fifth, if it looks like there's even a shadow of a possibility that Fawcett pulls off an upset here, the GOP may be forced to commit resources to defend this seat. Of course, that's not a heartening scenario for Fawcett, but it does mean that $100K of Republican money spent in CO-05 isn't being spent elsewhere. And there is a possible flipside to this: The GOP, with 231 seats open all at once, may not have the resources to defend CO-05 in the same way it (embarrassingly) had to do in OH-02. This could allow Fawcett to sneak in under the radar.

The bottom line is, Hefley's retirement is nothing but good news for us - and the fact that Fawcett's already running makes it even better news. Just like that, this race just got a lot more interesting.

Posted at 12:10 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers, Colorado | Technorati

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Good analysis, for a NY'er. [/half-snark]

I linked you here.

We need a good fundraising quarter to prime the pump. (hint, hint, HINT!)

Jay's got a pro staff already in action - many volunteers - this could be good.

Just an example of how the tide is turning - Bush had to come to Colorado Springs in 2004 about a week before the election - to "pump up" the James Dobson/New Life/Winger base. Why did they need pumping? Would Karl have done this if he didn't have to?

Posted by: Zappatero [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 18, 2006 09:44 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm surprised no one mentioned the underlying reason why Hefley retired. That whole brouhaha early last year, after they purged him from the now-defunct Ethics Committee for admonishing (I don't think I've ever heard that word as many times in my life as I heard it from the 'mainstream' media talking about DeLay last year...) DeLay back when he was still chairman of the EC.

This seems to be a subtle jab at getting back at the "Culture of Corruption" re-THUGs...

Posted by: progressivemuslimnj [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2006 09:11 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Take a look again at this race - polling across the board in El Paso County is saying that republicans will look at Democratic candidates. Being associated with a Colorado House District campaign here I can tell you that the overwhelming response on precinct walks is that Republicans are looking for a reason to cross the ticket this year. Give Jay all the help you can - the tide is turning.

Posted by: El Paso Rockefeller Republican [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 20, 2006 01:40 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment