CD-2 Dem Primary: Shafroth, the Best Candidate You’ve Never Heard Of

The long(ish) shot

Anybody who spends a few minutes talking with Will Shafroth will be impressed by his genial manner, his intelligence and his grasp of the issues. He has a lot of experience in public service, mostly in environmental issues.

Shafroth is a grade-A candidate in a CD-2 field full — unfortunately for him — of grade-A candidates. It seems a shame that the Democrats can field three such quality opponents in Boulder County and environs, while the people of Louisiana end up with William Jefferson.

Anyway, Shafroth’s weakness in this race is that no one knows who he is. The Shafroth campaign raised some eyebrows by reporting a $300,000 fundraising effort in the first reporting quarter. But few close observers were surprised. A lifetime raising money for environmental causes puts you in touch with some loyal contributors. The tale will be told in the next few cycles. It’s hard to convince people to give you money if they don’t think you can win. So Shafroth now has to convince potential supporters that he can overcome this lack of name recognition. There are those who think that while the $300,000 early total is respectable, the campaign really needed $400,000 to begin to overcome the name recognition deficit.

The CD-2 Democratic race will be among the most expensive primaries ever contested in the U.S. For an introduction to this four-part series, click here.

The campaign will do this using shoe leather rather than a television advertising campaign. This strategy uses the campaign’s best asset — Shafroth himself — to try to make up the gap. However, a congressional district may be too large to allow a candidate meet all the necessary voters face-to-face. But talking to a carefully selected 15,000 voters could be enough.

The Shafroth campaign also expects some aggressive sniping between the Fitz-Gerald and Polis campaigns. Early indications are that they will stay on the sidelines for these exchanges, looking statesmanlike, sticking to policy pronouncements.

The Shafroth campaign also maintains it hasn’t decided whether to pursue the caucus or petition route to the ballot. But considering need for an aggressive name recognition campaign, it would be astonishing if they didn’t go with the petition method.

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Dan Whipple

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