Colorado GOP Candidates Who Fell Short But Can See Bright Futures

A full week has passed since the Election. We all know the results. For the winners it’s transition time. New members headed off to Congress — at least one pegged with a remarkably bright political future. I’m proud to see a new secretary of state in Colorado, a new state treasurer, not to mention the “Mighty Six” GOP upstarts who took over formerly Democratic seats to reclaim the state house majority.

But what about those Colorado Republican candidates who threw their hats into the ring, who entered the arena and did battle, yet came up short? Some of them we won’t see on the electoral stage again (in some cases, thankfully). For others, a potentially bright political future remains. Here are a few:

1. Ryan Frazier: A young rising star who took on the daunting task of challenging Rep. Ed Perlmutter, only to prove just how well gerrymandered the 7th District is for the Jefferson County Democrat. Ryan brought remarkable optimism, vision and political talents to the stage, and ran a very strong campaign. Along the way he made himself into somewhat of a celebrity with his numerous appearances on Sean Hannity and other cable news programs. What exactly is next? We certainly haven’t seen the last of Ryan Frazier. You can bet he will play some crucial role in continued Republican ascendancy in Colorado.

2. Dr. Mike Fallon: Sadly, very few in Colorado were used to seeing a Republican provide a liberal Denver Democrat Congresswoman a serious challenge. But Dr. Fallon did so with consistent passion and dedication, with grace and courage and common sense. His hard-working grassroots campaign won him no attention at first, but before long he was impressing some of the masters of the talk radio airwaves. Yes, he came up well short of the ultimate goal. And yes, he insisted this was his one moment on the political stage to make a difference. But shrewd Colorado Republicans ought to be clamoring for Dr. Fallon to find some other opportunity to run and serve.

3. Owen Hill: He emerged in 2010 fresh on the scene with a stellar resume and a photogenic young family (that now includes 4 kids). Never backing down from the challenge of taking on the state senate majority leader, he came up a mere couple hundred votes short. Though new to the world of political campaigns, Hill demonstrated some natural abilities and took to the challenges of fundraising and coalition-building with aplomb. What future opportunities might await? A run at a Senate District 11 seat in 2014, or something sooner? If he wants to take a crack at it, Owen Hill justly has earned a lot of respect within the party ranks.

4. Lang Sias: His decision to enter the 7th Congressional primary probably didn’t help eventual Republican nominee’s chances. Yet in spite of coming out of nowhere and being handicapped with the John McCain label, he outperformed expectations. As I understand it, he is now enrolled in the Leadership Program of the Rockies — which should only enhance his future chances. Depending on how redistricting plays out, he might end up inside Senate District 19. Would he be interested in taking on this challenge in 2012?

5. Christine Mastin: Prominently featured among the legislative candidates at the GOP State Assembly and frequently touted by State Party chair Dick Wadhams, Mastin brought a favorable profile as a young, successful Hispanic woman who already earned a spot in Denver Business Journal‘s Forty under 40. Her campaign in House District 3, which mostly includes south Denver along with parts of Englewood and Cherry Hills Village, broadened support. While she ran into the Democratic buzz saw, Mastin did increase party performance by more than 7 points from 2008. I’m sure that any future decision she made to run for office would be received as welcome news in GOP circles.

Honorable Mention: Stephen Bailey (CD-2); Danny Stroud (HD 1); Brian Van de Krol (HD 34); Bob Boswell (HD 50).

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