Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Schaffer v Udall - Watching Paint Dry

Throughout Douglas County, Republicans have been motivated to participate in party events, volunteer activities, and get-out-the-vote efforts after the announcement of Sarah Palin as the VP pick on John McCain's Reform GOP ticket. From the lips of event organizers - "Take a McCain yard sign - and take two Bob Schaffer signs!"

As excited as everyone in Colorado is about the Presidential race, there seems to be a race that people really seem to not care about in the slightest - Schaffer (R) v. Udall (D).

Polls are showing a common trend that the two candidates are within the margin of error of one another: Udall 41%, Schaffer 38% - This is great news for the Schaffer campaign, as their goal seems to be to stay within the margin of error while Republicans are at a general poll disadvantage of ~6% on average in generic polling.

Unfortunately, what is not being reported, or largely discussed, is that 20% of Colorado voters are UNDECIDED in this Senate race.

This is a failure on the part of BOTH campaigns - who continue to sling mud rather than make a case for their candidate.

At event after event, party leadership continues to push Schaffer on Republicans - however, Schaffer himself seems to be less than enthusiastic about the race, or targeting the additional 20% of undecided voters. Recently, at the State Party Central Committee, members were attempting to provide some suggestions for answering attacks that may be turning off potential Schaffer voters - to which Schaffer gave a "that's not in our campaign strategy" answer... even though the answer he gave would make a great commercial advertisement introducing him as a standard businessman, middle-class American who is looking to implement Core Conservative Values in the US Senate. I guess that message is not getting out, and not in their strategy. Unfortunately, their strategy doesn't seem to be very effective!

The result - Perhaps the least interesting yet most important senate race in the West.

With 20 days left until mail-in ballots drop, it is impossible to call this race. There has been no major move to garner the support of the 20% undecided by either campaign, and no move to re-introduce the candidates to the people. It is Core GOP v Core Dem - with the independent bystanders less than attentive or engaged.

If these two candidates can't bridge this gap, I have to wonder about their ability to lead Colorado in the Senate, and I have to question their staying power in Colorado politics.

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