Udall easily defeats Schaffer in U.S. Senate race | SkyHiNews.com

Udall easily defeats Schaffer in U.S. Senate race

By Tonya Bina

Sky-Hi Daily News

Colorado’s contentious U.S. Senate race tipped heavily in favor of Democratic candidate Mark Udall, who with about 30 percent of Colorado precincts reporting enjoyed a 54 percent to 40 percent lead over Republican opponent Bob Schaffer.

The race had hijacked television viewership in the battleground state with what’s believed to be the most money ever spent on attack ads by partisan and outside interest groups. As much as $16 million was spent attacking Udall, and $10 million in ads sought to discredit Schaffer.

Schaffer was pegged as “Big Oil Bob,” and Udall was tagged as a “Boulder Liberal.”

Despite the independent groups’ negative campaigning, “What I saw was Mark Udall ran a very positive race,” said Udall spokesperson Tara Trujillo on Tuesday.

During the televised debates, she said, he “took the higher road and he listened, spoke the truth, talked about facts and issues facing Colorado” whereas Schaffer, she said, was “interruptive, aggressive, attacking and combative.”

Shaffer’s “style alone hurt him more than he’ll understand,” Trujillo said.

Two phone calls to Schaffer’s press secretary Tuesday were not returned.

In all, the Udall campaign spent $12 million, outspending Schaffer.

Udall’s efforts to reach voters proved successful. Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District representative traveled to all 64 counties during his sprint for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Wayne Allard, who is resigning.

And Coloradans were welcoming to him, Trujillo said, even the youngest among them.

“We pulled up to an elementary school in West Denver and 9-year-olds were screaming his name, running out to meet him,” she said.

Launching renewable energy development and looking for ways to rescue the economy will be Udall’s first order of business when he hits the Senate floor, according to Trujillo.

“He believes if Colorado can lead nationally, more jobs will be brought to state, especially in rural Colorado. Those jobs can’t be outsourced. He believes that will help take the edge off of the economic crisis,” she said.

During the campaign, Udall has called for taking a fresh look at nuclear, developing clean coal technology and investing heavily in renewable energy sources.

“We believe that Coloradans know his stance with them. We believe he wants to see Colorado lead on many national fronts,” Trujillo said.

Schaffer, a former oil and gas executive with Aspect Energy, also lost a 2004 bid for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Ken Salazar.

Udall’s win gives Colorado two Democratic senators for the first time since the mid-1970s, when Gary Hart and Floyd Haskell served together.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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