Last week I was privileged with the opportunity to sit down and meet Dr. Michael Fallon, the Republican candidate for Colorado’s 1st Congressional District. For those in the know, that phrase typically evokes shrugs of apathy.
A Republican in the 1st CD? That covers the heart of Denver. The city has been represented by the tag team of Lefty Democratic icons Pat Schroeder and Diana DeGette for a combined 37 years. Republicans has held the office for a total of one two-year term since 1946. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, only 49 of 435 Congressional Districts are considered more heavily Democratic.
But don’t think for a moment that deters the 45-year-old Fallon.
“Diana DeGette is out of touch with the district,” the GOP candidate pointedly remarked at the Lakewood Starbucks where we met. There is some evidence out there to bolster his case and give shreds of hope. A Magellan Strategies survey performed two months ago among a representative sample of CD1 voters show the incumbent with unimpressive favorability and job approval ratings at 48 percent. DeGette’s voting record very closely mirrors Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s: 99.2 percent of the time, by the Washington Post‘s count.
Michael Fallon is on a mission, criss-crossing the district with a team of volunteers wearing their walking shoes. Focusing primarily on unaffiliated voters, who make up 30 percent of CD 1 (Democrats are more than 50 percent and Republicans less than 20 percent), he has carried his message of job growth, low taxes, spending discipline and transparency to thousands of doors so far. Fallon believes he can tap into angst among some fiscally conservative Democrats.
Denver’s Republican candidate for D.C.’s Capitol Hill also leans a bit on populist themes of what’s fair for the country should be fair for Congress — whether it’s social security or health insurance plans. “Congress has lost direction on both sides of the aisle,” Fallon observed of the fiscal recklessness emanating from the Beltway, willing to give his own party its fair share of the jabs. “Republicans started it, Democrats perfected it.” (more…)