COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., September 14, 2014—Despite what they preach about the evils of stereotyping, Democrats in Colorado are desperate to do just that to Republicans who oppose them. Michael Schlierf, running for the state legislature in House District 18, defies their pre-conceived notions.
In fact, he’s helping to redefine what it means to run on the Republican ticket.
Schlierf started working as a caddy at age 14. He worked his way through college, first shoveling sand in a GM foundry as a member of the AFL-CIO and then as a maintenance worker and supervisor at a regional museum in Western New York State. He spent a full 29-year career with Intel Corporation. Since leaving Intel, he’s been the COO of Solargreen Technologies and the sole proprietor of Helios Power and Light Commercial Energy Auditing.
He is a lifetime member of both the Sierra Club and the NRA. He’s more at home with the trade unions in his district than with Broadmoor types. He’s talking to independents and Democrats while other Republicans are convinced they can win just by getting the Republican base out to vote.
Michael exhibits the kinds of diversity of opinion that one sees on the conservative side. His style and audience reflects his blue-collar background much in the style of Rick Santorum, who champions blue-collar conservatives in his recent book of that name.
House District 18 was carved out of Manitou Springs and the central part of Colorado Springs to favor Democrats even though the registrations are almost evenly divided into thirds.
The district is part of Senate District 11 that recalled John Morse last year over his failure to represent his district and instead represent Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun agenda. Schlierf was active in the recall effort. His campaign theme is “Choice—Not Control!” in recognition of the fact that he intends to go to Denver to represent the people of his district.
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Schlierf recently courted a little controversy when he was asked to make a presentation on Common Core to the local chapter of the NAACP. One Democrat Party activist was so alarmed at the thought of a Republican speaking to the NAACP that she made a motion to prevent it—even though a committee had vetted the presentation as non-partisan.
His opponent is two-term representative Pete Lee, a Democrat lawyer who when he first ran in 2010 didn’t even live in the district. He doesn’t seem to have endeared himself to his constituents very much although they reelected him in 2012. The Republicans played the Democrat’s game in both elections, nominating strong, accomplished women to run against him.
Democrat strategists are resorting to the same old distortions and fear-mongering that they’ve used consistently in Colorado. They conducted a supposedly neutral “survey” for example that accused Schlierf of wanting to conduct fracking with the city limits (which makes no sense in the district), that he leads a radical organization that wants to put guns into the hands of criminals and the insane and that he wants to ban all birth control—none of which is anywhere close to the truth.
Instead of worrying about being put in a box by Democrats, Schlierf has gone his own way. His website says he’s a champion of individual liberty for the elimination of crony capitalism, for state sovereignty and for choice in free speech an education. He’s endorsed by the chair of the Libertarian Party in Colorado.
While other Republicans talk about the need to broaden their support and reach out to non-traditional constituencies, Schlierf is actually doing it.
Will it work?
Incumbency, the Democrat money machine and a gerrymandered district give Schlierf’s campaign a tough challenge.