Ryan Frazier: Majority Maker?
"Handslaps" won't stop this Colorado Republican.
12:03 PM, Oct 20, 2010 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Colorado Democratic congressman Ed Perlmutter slapped back at his GOP challenger during a televised debate on Sunday—literally.
The Republican, Aurora city councilman Ryan Frazier, was arguing with Perlmutter about the provisions in the health care reform bill. “What page, Ed?” Frazier asked the congressman, who claimed tort reform was in the bill. When Perlmutter couldn’t answer, Frazier repeated the question before asking his opponent to “be honest” with a forceful jab of his finger.
Perlmutter answered with a soft slap on Frazier’s hand. “Hey, don’t hit me, man, c’mon,” Frazier responded, and Perlmutter immediately apologized. Frazier has mostly laughed off the odd moment. “It’s going to take more than a handslap to keep me from fighting for what I believe,” he says in a phone interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “But I do know it was inappropriate. I don’t know what was going on in [Perlmutter’s] head.”
A second-term congressman from Golden, Perlmutter may be thinking the race is getting too close for comfort. Colorado’s Seventh Congressional District is moderately Democratic, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D +4. But Barack Obama won the district by nearly twenty points in 2008, and Perlmutter won that year by 26 points. As Hispanics have become a larger percentage of the voting population in this suburban Denver district, the Seventh seems to have leaned more to the Democrats.
But Frazier, a young black Republican, is running a tight race against Perlmutter, and an August poll of 830 likely voters even had Frazier ahead by one point. “We are in an extremely strong position,” says Frazier, who says black and Hispanic Democrats are saying "privately" they will vote for him. “People are very receptive to our message.”
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