Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The energy debate is playing out in down-ticket races across the country, and Colorado’s no exception. In the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard (R), Rep. Mark Udall (D) and former-Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) are duking it out over oil.

Schaffer represented Colorado’s fourth district from 1997 through 2003, and in 2004 he made a failed bid in the Republican Senatorial primary. Since then, he has served as vice-president for business development at Aspect Energy, LLC., an oil and natural gas exploration and investment company. The League of Conservation Voters named him one of their “Dirty Dozen” this year, highlighting the more than $75,000 in donations he’s received from the oil and gas industry and his support of the Bush administration’s energy policy. He’s received just a 5 percent lifetime score from the group.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently released this ad, “Meet Big Oil Bob”:

LCV also released its own ad on Schaffer and Big Oil, titled “Fingerprint Bob,” as well as a website.

Meanwhile his opponent, Rep. Mark Udall, a strong voice for environmental concerns in the House who won LCV’s endorsement this year, recently came out in favor of a measure that includes more drilling. Udall says he supports a bipartisan compromise on energy that would open up more areas to drilling and increase investment in alternatives. Shaffer has accused him of making a “u-turn” on the subject, after he stood against measures to increase drilling during his 10 years in the House.

Udall’s latest ad emphasizes investment in renewable energy, but also calls for increased domestic production of oil and gas. Previous ads focused solely on clean, renewable energy, and green jobs, featuring Udall standing in front of a field of wind turbines. Watch the new ad:

The 527 group Freedom’s Watch also has a new ad out targeting Udall for missing the vote to adjourn Congress for August recess. The measure to adjourn passed by one vote over Republican calls to remain in sessions until they got a vote on offshore drilling. Udall was in Colorado for a fundraiser, but it’s unlikely that Udall would have voted with them had he been in Washington. Here’s their new ad: