In the course of his recent 5-minute interview with The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer made quite a simple and profound observation about his looming race: "What's different in '08 is there is no independent outsider running for the United States Senate on the Democratic side."
The conventional wisdom (repeated so often in the Nutroots, that you'd think it was a talisman) has been that Boulder liberal Mark Udall will ride a magic carpet of Blue State momentum to a sweeping victory. But Schaffer is right: Udall can in no way credibly run for office as Ken Salazar did in 2004 or as Bill Ritter did in 2006.
And so, when Cillizza's Washington Post political blog today released its weekly rankings of the U.S. Senate seats most likely to switch party control in 2008, for the first time in a long time Colorado fell from the top of the list. Apparently, Cillizza found Schaffer quite persuasive, among other factors he noted in consideration of dropping Colorado from number 1 to number 3.
3. Colorado (R): The open seat race between Rep. Mark Udall (D) and former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) drops two slots this month but the fundamental dynamic of the race remains unaltered. Republicans are already beginning to paint Udall as a "Boulder liberal" while Democrats are making the counter argument that Schaffer is far more conservative than the average Colorado voter. Having huddled with Schaffer earlier this week, we came away impressed by his plainspokeness and his -- to our mind -- smart strategic plan to run as a reform-minded candidate. Republicans are pushing back hard on the idea that this race is Udall's to lose. Schaffer's campaign released a poll that showed him trailing Udall by just two points in a three-way race. And they make the argument that the Democrats who have been elected in the last few years have run as conservatives, putting to lie the idea that the state had fundamentally changed its ideological underpinnings.(Previous ranking: 1)
Yes, you heard it from the Washington Post, that long-standing bastion of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.