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Phoenix Rising

When's the Rutt Bridges story coming out? :-)

Interesting analysis. It's being said that the DNC has ousted many of the long-time consultants that have been losing races time and again. This sounds like a similar complaint here in CO. If your source is wise, he'll be making some noises to Bridges similar to what you've posted. (Or is breaking news on the Internets considered the appropriate delivery mechanism now?)

Who knows - if Bridges is mobile enough and hears the concerns, maybe there will be a staffing shift. If not, state party mobilization might be more important than everyone's been saying should Bridges be the Dem candidate.


I agree with 90% of this report. Democrats have a big problem in Colorado with recycling the same old "talent". There are a few bright spots with the Bridges campaign, namely the hiring of Jim Merlino as campaign manager, who just came off of a big win in CD3.

In my estimation, Mike Stratton cannot be blamed for the Strickland losses. You can pin that one on, well, Tom Strickland. He was an egomaniacal candidate and came across that way. He never remembered anyone, he was haughty and elitist, and was simply not likable. Those races (at least the first one) were close enough to blame Dick Wadhams rather than Mike Stratton. Stratton is one of the only top-caliber people left. His political skills and resoucefulness are awe-inspiring. While I have high faith in Stratton, Chaffee (especially) is a problem. He's botched alot of sure things and messed up alot of e-day data for other candidates resulting in narrow losses.


Thank god people are talking about this. I was unaware that Bridges had hired Sonderman (bad mistake) or Merlino (is that true?). Just as Dem (above) takes issue with blaming Stratton for the Strickland losses, I take issue with praising Merlino with the Salazar win.


Whoa Chicken Little,
Lets remember one thing here, Rutt Bridges is a smart man..he wouldn’t be where he is today if that wasn’t the case. Remember everyone we are about 20 months out from an election and he pulling from a pool that is available. He's politically savvy enough to hire/fire who he needs to. He’s just not going to surround himself with who people tell him to. I probably wouldn’t be the first to guess that nothing is set in stone. Lets all slow down and think a little we before jump ship.



How can you "take issue with praising Merlino with the Salazar win" without any clarification whatsoever. In large part, you can credit Jim Merlino for the CD3 win. That campaign was plauged some substantial ego problems and a candidate without alot of political shrewdness. Merlino was able to sift through a sometimes hostile candidate in order to git-r-done, even though there were plenty of people who didn't think he could do it. His personell managment tactics can be scarey and you never quite know what his motives are behind any givin action, but he's extremely astute and has a win-at-all-costs mentality. Next time clarify.

broken bridges

Bad candidates can often be lifted by a strong campaign team. Bad candidates with a bad staff equals disaster. It is beginning to appear that the Dems are going to give Republicans a free pass on the guv race.
No potential dem candidates mentioned will be able to touch either McInnis or Beauprez come general time.


See my comments regarding this that I posted earlier today in the open thread.

I couldn't agree more.


Who cares what this one big donor has to say? Rutt will self-finance. He's so rich, I bet he'll buy every single ad spot in the Denver market for October 2006 this year.

He'll win because you won't see another candidate on the airwaves, because he'd already have purchased all the space.


Rutt will do just fine. He'll end up with a strong staff. In fact, I think these are strong staffers. And, the guys you've mentioned are insiders, which means that they have their insider enemies. That's what we do. We stake out our turf and fight with each other. So, any insider any candidate gets will have his enemies. I think your big donor probably had his run ins with some of these people. And, who cares?

Ter Ducken

who cares? As a Democrat, I care! If he's got guys working for him who don't have a track record of success, how is he going to win?

hiring Merlino makes sense, he won with John Salazar. But what have these other guys won? Maybe it's sour grapes, but past history should mean something


Generally speaking the report is right on. Except for a few exceptions, such as Stratton, we should throw out the lot of active Colorado campaign management dating from the Webb, Pena, and Romer days. If you haven’t won a race in the last 4-5 years you should hang it up. More importantly, the candidate should dig a little deeper for help.

If you've been around this long as a career campaigner the money has to got be some/most of the motivation, and if that is the case you're already behind. It is very easy to go stale in this biz. May I remind you of the Zavaras campaign two years back consisting of old Webb hacks? They were so confidant and yet so out of touch. Of those Webb guys who worked with Salazar, well…Salazar won in spite of them.

Colorado Dems had a great year in '04. Look at some of the young energy from the various winning campaigns and give some new guys a shot.


I put my all my cards on Rutt Bridges and his ability to make good best decisions across the board -- from the construction of his campaign team to what is best for the state of Colorado.
This "big donor" is nothing but a sour grapes who clearly thinks his efforts to promote the CO Dems are best spent publicly ridiculing his own team. Maybe HE needs to take a few lessons in strategy.


You know what would be fun? How about we venture a guess as to who this "big donor" is?

I only know two and I guess Rutts out so how about Polis? Anyone, Anyone...

Susan B

When will democrats learn and stop hiring the people who keep losing race after race? This isn't brain surgery.


Susan B. who should we hire? You? Howard Dean? The people that ran ACT? All you first time politicos that come on here and trash everything need to realize that there are people that have been working on this stuff for a long time. They didn’t just get involved this year because liberal chic was the new thing. The sad fact is that if you have been around long enough and fight the good fights you aren’t always going to win. Especially in Colorado. If you guys are going to trash people like Stratton and Merlino, at least drop some names of who could do better. By no means should we just be giving up on Rutt.


Umm, if you are looking for people who helped CO Dems in 2004, does anybody remember that Tyler Chafee came in and ran the field effort for the huge Rutt/Jared/Stryker funded 527, which is one of the major reasons that Dems took control of both the house and the senate?

So, a donor is complaining that a multi-millionaire self funding candidate hired the guy who managed the biggest congressional pick up in the country in CO-03 and the guy who helped head up a multi-million dollar effort that helped Dems gain legislative control for the first time in forever.

So that donor won't give the maximum. Ouch, Rutt will have to spend another couple hundred dollars to make up for the lost support. darn. that hurts.


Boy, you guys really circle the wagons don't you? Maybe Pat Waak should choose a different team.


While I generally agree with the characterization of Rutt's staff (although, lets face it, everybody loses sometimes in politics and the number of Democrats in Colorado who have won top spots in recent history in close races is modest), the characterizing a Rutt as a near "dream candidate" simply doesn't hold water.

* Rutt Bridges has never made a sustained run for political office.
* Rutt Bridges has a hit and miss record in getting ballot issues back by his Bighorn organization passed. This is an indicator of his fairly poor ability to judge the political climate. He does what he believes, not what is popular. This is an admirable trait, but not a good way to win statewide political office.
* Rutt Bridges has over-relied in self-financing when he has backed ballot issues, and isn't a terrific fundraiser himself. Fundraising isn't just important because it provides money. It is also important because it is a proxy for the backing that a candidate has among influential people.
* Rutt Bridges is to the right of Ken Salazar politically, which hurts him in the primaries.
* Rutt Bridges has little experience making political speaches and isn't good at it.
* Rutt Bridges has little history with labor, an important Democratic constituency.
* Rutt Bridges doesn't know the obscure parts of the Democratic party political landscape. He doesn't know who is good and who is not at the level professional staffers. He doesn't have a good handle on people like county chairs and state party officials whose support he needs to win.
* Rutt Bridges is a poor judge of character. The original post here speaks for itself.

An ability to make money, idealism and a strong desire to look for consensus are nice, but they don't imply a personal ability to be a good political candidate. Rutt Bridges is all of the former. He is not the later.


I think all of these comments are very interesting, but it appears that this alleged "big donor" is really trying to say that Rutt should not be the Dem candidate. Not because his team is incompetent, but rather that Rutt just doesn't have what it takes to win. He himself is not an ideal candidate. Just because you have the money to be Governor, doesn't mean you should be. I think the big question is who can win. Rutt is socially minded and has a true sense of justice.


When did you guys at Coloradopols start working for the Beauprez camp? Is there any better way to advance his candidacy than by trying to undermine the only credible Democrat in the race on the eve of the announcement?


I don't believe the staff is as bad as this blog would have us think. As skibum pointed out, Chafee ran the field effort for our victorious 2004 takeover of the state legislature, and there are other good minds at Bighorn not mentioned in this article.

Bridges has also not yet officially announced his candidacy and Udall only decided not to run a week ago, so changes to the lineup will probably happen. It’s premature to criticize the guy for having a bad staff when the campaign doesn't even exist.

If Merlino is really part of the Bridges camp then it looks like the advice dolled out here has already been heard and acted upon. The guy won John Salazar's race despite some serious difficulties with staff and a first-time candidate.

JTR has a good point, too. Who, exactly, does this "wealthy donor" recommend Bridges hire instead? If you look around the state, most of the really good people already have jobs they probably don't want to give up for an election that’s 20 months off!

And it's just silly to think that Sonderman will be making Bridges' TV spots. He may advise the campaign, but for serious state-wide media I would expect someone with the resources that Bridges has to bring in a top-tier national media consultant.

There are some serious holes in this "wealthy donor’s" arguments. Maybe he’s just upset that Bridges is getting all the attention?

I'm Rick James...byitch

Giving Tyler Chaffee credit for winning the state house or state senate is like giving Governor Owens credit for Bush's victory last year. Sure he was there and around it, but didn't have anything to do with its success.

Rutt is doomed with or without the senior staff clown car. Stratton is a great strategist, but whispering in the ear of the sacrificial lamb smacks of opportunism.

And for the minority on here who somehow think Rutt stands a shot against Beauprez, you're delusional. Just wait until the Beauprez/RGA media teams have fun with Rutt's personal life. They had Feeley looking like the stay puffed marshmallow man and Thomas writing off DUIs left and right.



Mike Starrton hasnt won anything??? How about him being the New Mexico state director for Gore. Or who was that other guy he worked for, oh yeah Ken Salazar.


You guys forgot to mention Jeff Bridges. Rutt's son was the press guy for John in CD3, and he did a fantastic job with it. He'll be a credit to the campaign for sure.


Isn't Hick's campaign dead? He doesn't talk like a DEM. The Post did a article about Hick speaking with Pena and Webb... Pena sounded like Clinton, Webb sounded like Carter but Hick sounded like Jack Kemp(R). How can he pass muster and win a Primary with Waak and her Waakies?

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