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Jason Salzman

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From Stand-Up Comic to Internet Radio Host to CO Senate Candidate

Posted: 04/ 4/2012 1:52 pm

When Art Carlson started his internet radio program, "Art's Place," he wanted to create a "soap box" to voice his "opinions from a different perspective."

Now, two years later, former Colorado Senate President John Andrews cites Art's Place as one reason he's endorsed Carlson in his GOP primary race against John Lyons to face off against Democrat Nancy Todd to represent Senate District 28.

"His radio show has networked him to leading conservatives across the state," Andrews told me, adding that he has "a lot of regard for Carlson's grit and gumption" and that Carlson is "a well-anchored conservative."

"He'll never quit on promises he's made," said Andrews.

When a guy like Andrews is impressed with Carlson for never quitting, it means a lot. Andrews is a guy who "positively" hates lunch, he says, because it's a distraction from his "Niagara productivity." (I thought he said Viagra productivity, but he confirmed that he said Niagara, as in Niagara Falls.)

Carlson, who lost in the GOP primary for a House seat in 2010, told me he's "always been interested in politics, but I didn't get involved until about four years ago."

"I got tired of yelling at the TV and decided to try to do something," he said.

He says Colorado Sen. Shawn Mitchell and Rep. Chris Holbert "really helped me out and encouraged me and got me pointed in the right direction."

In terms of specific issues, Carlson is a serious conservative, as you'd expect with guys like Andrews, Mitchell and Holbert behind him.

He says, for example, he signed the Colorado Union of Taxpayers tax-cut pledge over two years ago.

Carlson's opponent, Lyons, promised to do so during a March 20 interview on KLZ's Grassroots Radio Colorado:

Host Jason Worley: Have you signed the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights Pledge?

Lyons: Not yet.

Worley: Are you planning to?

Lyons: Yes.

Lyons is not yet listed as a pledge signer on the CUT website, but Carlson prefers to discuss his own plans and positions.

He tells me during our phone conversation that he's a Little Person and he has disability called Arthrogryposis, a non-progressive muscle and bone disorder.

I asked him why he told me this. "I don't think it matters," he said. "But when I go out to meet people, they go hmm, but once they get to know me, that goes away."

Also, he says, "it gives people an idea that I know something about the health care system too."

Does that mean he supports Obamacare?

"No," he replies.

Carlson currently works at Rocky Mountain Orthodontics, but he's also made a living as a stand-up comedian.

"I went into it after college 20 years ago," he says, explaining that he performed regularly in local clubs. "I got to travel around the world and entertain our troops in Japan and South Korea. That was the high point in my stand-up career."

His entertainment background adds a sort of dry poise to his Art's Place interviews, where guests have included U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, Colorado Rep. Robert Ramirez, and others.

He's not sure he can continue the radio show during his campaign.

"I'm going to see how it goes," he said. "Campaigning takes a lot of time. Right now I'm evaluating whether I should do another month or two of Art's Place in addition to full-time campaigning."

 

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