Update II, 2:45 PM: I’ve seen it written that blogs are the first draft of history. First drafts often need revision. I strive to note where I am writing conjecture as opposed to hard fact. But I prefer to be open about the process, because I recognize that I am prone to make mistakes from time to time — particularly when I wander into conjecture.
After talking to several sources following up this announcement, it has become apparent to me there is no deal with the NRCC on the table. It was poorly worded at best. Clearly the Frazier team sized up their prospects and decided it made more sense all around to move to the 7th Congressional race — to increase fundraising opportunities and make for a stronger Republican field across the board in Colorado.
Again, my regrets on the rush to judgment. Hopefully my mistakes become fewer and fewer as I continue practicing this avocation. Thank you for your indulgence.
So Ryan Frazier is announcing right now that he will be a candidate for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District rather than for the United States Senate. A stunning surprise? Not by a longshot. An initial disappointment for the activists who have poured out so much on his behalf? Much more true.
There’s not a lot more to be said at this point. The campaign is excited about rolling out a list of big-named endorsements and heavy-hitting funders early next week.
Read: The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) offered some sort of a deal. Yet what the NRCC (I believe) has helped guide Frazier is getting into is the daunting chore — albeit certainly not impossible — of taking down Congressman Ed Perlmutter and his $900,000 war chest. Even so, the campaign is talking a good game.
“I think voters are going to be relieved they have a viable candidate in Ryan Frazier,” campaign spokesperson Laura Goode told bloggers in a Wednesday evening conference call. “Perlmutter should be worried, because Ryan Frazier is a good candidate who can go the distance.” (Other bloggers on the conference call were Randy Ketner the Night Twister and Tom James of the Peoples Press Collective.)
Just like I said when Jane Norton entered the race for U.S. Senate, Frazier has to translate his shift from the Senate to the 7th Congressional District into an intense effort to connect with the grassroots and build support. I think he understands well that his entry into the 7th CD creates for current candidate Brian Campbell a similar dynamic to the one he and Ken Buck faced when the red carpet was rolled out for Norton. The small difference is by virtue of his service on the Aurora City Council and campaigning up to this point, Frazier has built up some degree of grassroots support and recognition among Republican voters (such as myself) in the 7th.
Of greater concern are two issues that I see:
- Fundraising: Goode was not prepared to answer questions about third quarter fundraising, which left lingering doubts, because reports were due to be made public today anyway (the Federal Election Commission report was not available online at the time of this posting)
- The apparent short shrift given by the Frazier campaign to thinking how to address the perceptions likely created among the grassroots from the candidate suddenly shifting between races: Does it make him look weak? Indecisive? Like a quitter? I don’t think these labels are fair characterizations of Frazier, but politics is more about perceptions than it is about fairness.
Are these potentially problematic concerns insurmountable? Etched in stone? No, of course not. But the transition period is one that cannot be taken lightly by the candidate and his team if Ryan Frazier wants to emerge as a strong and credible Republican choice in the 7th Congressional District.
Given his recent past performance, there’s little doubt in my mind Ryan Frazier can achieve that status. Yet while the high-level endorsement and big-donor fundraising road may have just become considerably more manageable, the work needed to secure the loyalty of the base just became more intensive.