Schaffer Announces Senate Candidacy

Former Republican Rep. Bob Schaffer apparently announced his intentions to run for the U.S. Senate at a GOP gathering last weekend. According to The Hill:

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-Colo.) said Saturday at a Lincoln Day Dinner that he would run for U.S. Senate in 2008, according to local sources.

Speaking at a small dinner in Teller County, Schaffer told a crowd of about 100 that he had decided to run, according to two local party operatives who were there.

“He announced that we were the first to know that he is a candidate,” said County Commissioner and former county Republican Party Chairman Bob Campbell. Campbell added that Schaffer said a formal announcement and release would be coming at a later date.

Current Teller County Republican Party Chairman Mark Sievers also confirmed Schaffer’s announcement: “He did say that. He was unequivocal.”

Schaffer’s decision to run for U.S. Senate is no surprise (Colorado Pols reported that he would run] in late January), and ever since Scott McInnis pulled out of the race, Republicans have been waiting for Schaffer to make his intentions publicly known. Schaffer’s pending candidacy, in fact, has all but frozen other Republicans in place.

While Schaffer’s announcement may not be a surprise, the circumstances surrounding the move are indeed odd. Making your public announcement at a small gathering in a county that most Coloradans probably can’t find on a map is a strange way to get your campaign started.

Congressman Mark Udall has all but locked down the field on the Democratic side, but it will be interesting to see if Republicans will unite behind Schaffer. While he appeals to the conservative base, there is some concern in Republican circles that he could be too conservative for a statewide race; it also doesn’t help that he couldn’t get out of a GOP Senate primary the last time he ran, losing to Pete Coors in 2004.