In an announcement heavy on patriotism, Democratic State Senator Luz Robles officially entered the race for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District.
The Tuesday campaign kick off at the State Capitol featured numerous references to the upcoming 9-11 anniversary as well as a promise that Robles’ candidacy would be about providing the kind of leadership “Utah deserves.”
Running against an incumbent Republican in one of the most conservative districts in the nation makes Robles a decided underdog as she starts her campaign more than a year out from the 2014 elections.
“I have a message for the naysayers – I have proved you wrong in the past, and I will prove you wrong again,” said Robles to the small crowd of supporters assembled in the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol. “I have a record of standing against the culture of corruption in a state dominated by one political party and I can stand up against partisan bullies.”
Interestingly, Robles mentioned her potential opponent, freshman Congressman Chris Stewart in passing only once, and never by name.
“I have a stronger record than my opponent in passing legislation and getting things done.”
Joining Robles at the announcement were numerous Democratic party dignitaries, including Party Chair Sen. Jim Dabakis and former Congresswoman Karen Shepherd.
Shepherd pulled no punches when talking about the current state of affairs in Washington. “Children in a sandpile having to share one toy could do better than the men and women currently in Congress.”
Jay Seegmiller, who lost to Stewart by 28-points in 2012, acknowledged the tough road ahead of Robles because of the gerrymandered district. “Few people in the Legislature work as hard as Luz. She’s gonna be a great candidate.”
Hard work is no joke. The district stretches from Salt Lake City to Washington County. When asked when Robles would make her first trip to the southern part of the state, a campaign advisor said it would happen sometime in the next few weeks.
Robles has set a lofty fundraising goal for her campaign – raising at least $1 million. That’s more than double what Stewart raised and spent in 2012, and more than 10-times Seegmiller’s fundraising totals.
When asked how they would hit those money marks, Aaron Cohen of 3GP Consulting, who is heading up fundraising, said Robles is an ideal candidate to bring in money.
“She has the potential to bring in such a diverse coalition of donors. Her business background, environmentalists who are upset with the policies of (current Congressman) Chris Stewart, women and minorities. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities.”
Cohen says they are planning some fundraising trips to Washington in the near future to get Robles’ campaign off and running.
Before Robles took the stage, two staffers were tasked with straightening the American flag backdrop behind the stage because it was leaning a little too far to the left. Probably a good idea not to begin a long and potentially expensive campaign by visually reinforcing old stereotypes about the Democratic party.