Chieftain let announced GOP Senate candidate Schaffer say he's not running yet

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In reporting on an upcoming meeting between U.S. Senate candidate and Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO) and opponents of the proposed Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site expansion, The Pueblo Chieftain quoted former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) as saying, "[W]hen and if I announce my Senate candidacy, it will be a more appropriate time to speak out on" the controversy. According to his campaign website, the Federal Election Commission, and several Colorado media reports, however, Schaffer has already announced his candidacy.

After noting in an August 22 article that "former Rep. Bob Schaffer ... is the only Republican raising money for a [U.S.] Senate race" next year, The Pueblo Chieftain quoted Schaffer as saying, "Next year, when and if I announce my Senate candidacy, it will be a more appropriate time to speak out on" the U.S. Army's proposed expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. In fact, the Federal Election Commission identifies Schaffer as a candidate whose "principal campaign committee" -- a title that could not be used for an "exploratory" campaign -- is "Bob Schaffer for US Senate." Furthermore, in an open letter on his official Senate campaign website, Schaffer touches on "some of the reasons I've decided to run for the United States Senate." Colorado media outlets -- including the Chieftain -- also have reported Schaffer's decision to run.

Reporting on an upcoming meeting between U.S. Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) and ranchers who might be affected by the Piñon Canyon expansion, the Chieftain article noted that Schaffer "clearly did not want to step into the Pinon Canyon controversy."

From the August 22 Pueblo Chieftain article "Udall, ranchers to meet, discuss Pinon Canyon," by Peter Roper:

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and a candidate for the Senate next year, will travel to Trinidad on Sept. 1 to meet with ranchers and local officials opposed to the expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site northeast of Trinidad.

[...]

Udall, who represents Boulder and the 2nd Congressional District, is the only Democrat to have announced his Senate campaign thus far, while former Rep. Bob Schaffer, a Republican member of the Colorado Board of Education, is the only Republican raising money for a Senate race.

Schaffer, who is from Fort Collins, clearly did not want to step into the Pinon Canyon controversy Tuesday. Asked for his opinion on the proposed expansion, the former 4th District congressman declined to give one.

"Next year, when and if I announce my Senate candidacy, it will be a more appropriate time to speak out on this important subject," he said, choosing his words carefully in a telephone interview.

In the meantime, Schaffer added, he would continue to talk to military officials, ranchers and others in evaluating the "complex and complicated" issue.

Further contradicting Schaffer's statement that he had not yet announced his candidacy and would not do so until 2008, if at all, The Denver Post reported on May 15 that Schaffer announced he would run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Wayne Allard (R-CO) at the Boulder County Republican Lincoln dinner on May 14. Schaffer also was quoted commenting on the fact that the announcement was made near Udall's hometown:

Washington -- Former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer will run for the U.S. Senate seat that Sen. Wayne Allard is vacating in 2008, a race expected to be one of the nation's most expensive and competitive.

[...]

Schaffer, of Fort Collins, announced his intention to run Saturday at the Boulder County Republican Lincoln dinner, near the Eldorado Springs hometown of Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, 56, who also plans a Senate run.

"It's like standing in his living room," Schaffer said of the location. His appearance at the dinner had been long scheduled, he said, adding, "I just took advantage of that opportunity."

The Post has further identified Schaffer as "a candidate for U.S. Senate" in its reporting on the question of whether, as a member of the State Board of Education, "Schaffer's vote in favor of a campaign donor connected to a charter school constituted a conflict":

As the State Board of Education writes its ethics policy, members asked Monday for a review of whether board member Bob Schaffer's vote in favor of a campaign donor connected to a charter school constituted a conflict.

The board's legal adviser from the state attorney general's office said he was unsure whether Schaffer, a candidate for U.S. Senate, violated any ethics rules.

[...]

A liberal activist group is accusing Schaffer, a Republican candidate for Sen. Wayne Allard's seat, of selling his vote to the owner of a charter school company that contributed to his campaigns.

ProgressNowAction is calling on Schaffer to return contributions from David Brennan, whose White Hat Management company provides staff and curriculum for the Life Skills Center, a high-school program for dropouts.

Brennan contributed to Schaffer's campaign in 2004 and in the weeks following his May vote ordering Denver Public Schools to reconsider terminating the school's charter.

The Chieftain itself in its online archive provides a May 14 Associated Press article about Schaffer's Senate campaign announcement.

The Rocky Mountain News also has reported (here and here) Schaffer's public announcements of his candidacy, as has the Greeley Tribune.

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