In Colorado's 7th District, the contentious battle between freshly minted National Republican Congressional Committee "Young Gun" Ryan Frazier and dedicated "Government in the Grocery" advocate Ed Perlmutter increases in intensity. Points of contention between the candidates are immigration, government spending and health care. In a district with a median income of $50,637 -- which places it ahead of Diana DeGette's District 1 and John Salazar's District 3 but behind the other districts -- employment and spending are important topics.
Candidates for Colorado's 7th Congressional District (two-year term)
(Colorado's 7th district is situated in the central part of the state and includes northern portions of Denver's metro area and eastern parts of largely rural Adams County. A boundary map shows that notable cities include Brighton, Bennett, Aurora and Lakewood.)
Candidate: Ed Perlmutter
Political experience: Perlmutter began his political career in 1994 in Colorado's state senate district 20, where he represented Golden and Wheat Ridge. He distinguished himself for a bipartisan approach to contentious topics, including consumer protection and renewable energy. In 2006, Perlmutter won his congressional seat when beating Republican Rick O'Donnell. He was re-elected in 2008. He now serves on the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee as well as the Rules Committee.
Professional experience: Perlmutter champions local politics and regularly holds "Government in the Grocery" meetings, where he meets and greets shoppers at local grocery stores and takes the opportunity to listen to complaints or praise. He put his University of Colorado at Boulder law degree to work when acting as a trustee for the Midwest Research Institute.
Key issues: GovTrack explains that ever since January 2007, Perlmutter actively sponsored 20 bills of which only one -- thus far -- has been enacted. Fifteen are still sitting in committee. On the flip-side, he has co-sponsored 373 bills. Keenly aware of the financial hardships Wall Street and Main Street face, he championed legislation to enhance consumer-protection provisions guaranteed in H.R. 3639 and offer solid small-business incentives. Most notable is his May 6 introduction of H.R. 5249, which is termed the "Capital Access for Main Street Act of 2010." Although largely co-sponsored by Democrats, he did persuade Republican Mike Coffman to go along.
Endorsements: In addition to garnering all the support and endorsements the Democratic Party can afford an incumbent candidate, VoteSmart explains that Ed Perlmutter is officially endorsed by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, the National Education Association and Planned Parenthood.
Chances of maintaining his seat: His staunch pro-consumer and pro-small business stands should serve Perlmutter well. Another deciding factor in this election will be the support of Colorado's union voters. Interest group ratings reveal that Perlmutter scores 96 percent from the National Association of Wheat Growers and 100 percent from both the National Farmers Union and the United Fresh Product Association.
The environmental vote will also factor in to the decision of the electorate. The Defenders of Wildlife Action Funds gives him a 100 percent rating. Likely problematic will be the support of taxpayer and fiscally conservative groups, many of which do not align with Perlmutter's fiscal views. Most telling is the "F" rating from the National Taxpayers Union. Even so, the $1,539,149 he managed to raise -- as detailed by OpenSecrets.org -- is sure to make a big difference, especially when compared to his opponent's modest $875,780.
Candidate: Ryan Frazier
Political experience: Frazier won a seat for the Aurora City Council in 2003. In 2007, the voters of the third-largest city in Colorado sent him back for another term. Much like Perlmutter, Frazier avoids partisan politics in favor of getting results. He worked hard to push forward Cop-Link, which fosters the interconnectivity of law enforcement organizations and entities. An ongoing political goal is the elimination of the business personal property tax. He was instrumental in leading the debate on "boundless playgrounds" that are specifically designed for disabled children.
Professional experience: Frazier is a veteran of the United States Navy and a partner at Takara Systems. He was a member of Colorado's Private Occupational School Board. He still sits on the boards for the "Africa Agenda" and "Engineers without Borders."
Key issues: Frazier explains that he intends to take a common-sense approach to increasing Colorado's prosperity while tackling the nation's economic worries. He strongly champions a strengthening of the small business and does not believe in "bailing out Wall Street" at the expense of Main Street. He intends to use banking reform as a vehicle to level the playing field. Another problem he will tackle is the ever-changing legislative landscape for the business owner. Rather than imposing new regulations on this segment of the electorate, he vows to create an "environment of regulatory certainty."
Endorsements: Frazier earned the respect of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which bestowed the title of "Young Gun" on him. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney offered his endorsement in August.
Chances of unseating Ed Perlmutter: It is clear Frazier faces a serious uphill battle to take on -- and beat -- Perlmutter. With the anti-incumbent sentiment and strong Republican Party support working decidedly in his favor, the lack of union support may be a stumbling block. Having only raised $875,780 -- of which he has about $252,344 left -- he is clearly outspent by Perlmutter, who not only raised $1,539,149, but still has $1,283,167 cash on hand as of mid September.
Key Differences between Ed Perlmutter and Ryan Frazier
Jobs, taxes and government spending: GovTrack refers to Perlmutter as a "rank-and-file Democrat." This designation places him somewhat to the left of the aisle but nevertheless far removed from the more diehard party line adherents. As previously outlined, (on paper) Perlmutter and Frazier actually look quite similar with respect to government spending, taxation and job creation. Both champion the small business as being a primary creator of new jobs on the local level. Both also favor tax cuts for businesses to make this job growth happen.
Health care: Frazier opposes the so-called ObamaCare and actually calls for an immediate repeal of the legislation. He favors medical liability reform and wants Americans to have the option of buying insurance policies without being hampered by geographical borders. His opponent supported health care reform and stands by his decision to do so.
Immigration: Perlmutter supports comprehensive immigration reform through border security, enforcing existing laws, streamlining the visa process and preparing a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Frazier goes on record opposing amnesty but supports a streamlined work visa program. He promises that he will work hard to get the federal government to enforce the laws currently on the books.
Colorado's 7th U.S. Congressional District
Location: Colorado's 7th District is a central Colorado district that is made up of densely populated towns and open agricultural areas.
2006/2008 results: The National Journal shows that Perlmutter easily bested his opponents in both 2006 and 2008. In 2006 he defeated Rick O'Donnell with 55 percent to 42 percent. In 2008 he protected his seat as incumbent.
Demographics: According to Proximity, whites make up 77.38 percent of residents, followed by Hispanics with 27.13 percent and blacks with 6.73 percent. Some 85.30 percent of residents hold a high-school diploma but a staggering 14.20 percent live at the poverty level. This district features 12.29 percent of non-English speaking residents. The Cook Partisan Index gives the Colorado 7th District a rating of D+4, which indicates a better than average edge for the Democratic incumbent.