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Denver-area councilman may run for US Senate

Sara Burnett
InDenverTimes.com
Denver, CO Coorado

DENVER, Colorado “-Republican Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier said Wednesday he is “seriously considering” running for U.S. Senate in 2010, though he acknowledged his toughest fight may come from the more conservative wing of his own party.

Frazier stopped short of saying he will definitely run. But the 31-year-old Navy veteran has been making the rounds, meeting with potential supporters and attending county party gatherings. At a dinner in Douglas County – one of the state’s most conservative areas – Frazier got about 60 percent of the vote in a straw poll, besting more conservative Republicans such as radio host and attorney Dan Caplis, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.

Frazier admitted that some of his supporters have reserved a campaign Web site. And he’s already envisioning his three young children getting along well with those of his potential Democratic rival, Sen. Michael Bennet.



“Should Michael and I go head to head, maybe we can let our kids play together,” Frazier said. “They’re the same age.”

A native of North Carolina who has lived in Colorado for 12 years, Frazier describes himself as “not a typical Republican” and “very independent.” He knows his stance on certain issues, such as benefits for same-sex partners, may rankle the far right. But he believes he is better positioned to win statewide, much as Democrats have dominated recent elections with more centrist candidates such as former Sen. Ken Salazar.



“It’s going to be a real question for the Republican Party: ‘Are they ready for someone like me?’ ” Frazier said. “It shouldn’t be a question of surviving a primary. It should be, ‘Are you ready to win? Or do you want to continue down the road of a string of losses?’ “

Frazier has a master’s degree from Regis University. He spent five years in the Navy, working in intelligence for the National Security Agency, and has since worked for corporations such as Raytheon. He also owns his own small IT business and helped start a charter school in Aurora three years ago.

Most recently, Frazier was one of the driving forces behind the “right-to-work” initiative known as Amendment 47. Voters rejected the measure, which would have banned agreements that require workers to pay union dues if they fall under a collective bargaining contract.



But Frazier also supported benefits for same-sex partners of city of Aurora employees. And in 2006, he joined with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper – a Democrat – to publicly endorse Referendum I, which would have given domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples statewide.

Frazier said he’s been told by many people – inside and outside his own party – that his support for those measures will be “the arrow on my back” in a primary battle.

“They will come at me hard on that,” he said.

But he said the issue for him was about fairness. While Frazier said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, he thinks two people in a committed relationship should be entitled to certain benefits afforded to married couples. The practice is widely done in the private sector, he noted.

Frazier, who is black, also said the election of Barack Obama as president showed Americans are concerned foremost with voting for “an American they can believe in.”

“These are untraditional times that call for untraditional people to step forward,” he said.

Frazier said his top issues would be the same issues he believes are most important to voters: the economy, energy, education, defense and government reform.

Frazier also said he isn’t dissuaded by Bennet’s stellar fundraising in the most recent quarter, in which the former Denver Public Schools chief and businessman raked in nearly $1.4 million.

It’s a good start, Frazier said, but added that whichever Republican takes Bennet on, ” the money will come.” And he said he has had Democrats and unaffiliated voters encourage him to run.

Frazier plans to spend all day today in Colorado Springs, where he has a full day of meetings with potential supporters, including a gun owners group. On April 15, he will be the keynote speaker at a Tax Day Tea Party protest in Mesa County.

He expects to make a public announcement about a potential candidacy in a matter of weeks.

“Needless to say, we’re pretty serious,” he said.


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