Just after Tisha Casida announced her candidacy last year to represent Colorado's 3rd congressional district (the race featuring Republican incumbent Scott Tipton and Democrat Sal Pace) she got a call from Ryan Call, the Chair of Colorado's Republican Party.
Call asked Casida not to run for Congress because it could hurt the Republican Party's chances, according to a report in the Colorado Statesman.
"He was very polite," Casida told me yesterday. "After I made it clear that I was going to run for Congress, he tried to get me to run in a different district."
She immediately rejected Call's suggestion, she told me, because it would be "carpet-bagging."
"I've lived here my whole life," she said. "This is the part of the state that I love and want to represent."
It's no surprise that Call would try to talk Casida out of running. Apparently, Call's assumption is that, as an unaffiliated candidate with ties to Tea Party folks disillusioned with the GOP, Casida could siphon off voters who might otherwise back the Republican. For example, Casida has the support of Bob McConnell, who ran for the 3rd congressional seat in the GOP primary in 2010. You never know whom third-party voters will go for, so Casida could pick up Dems too, but if you look at Casida's positions, you think Tea Party.
And everyone knows that, at least for now, the race for Colorado's 3rd congressional seat is expected to be among the closest in the nation.
Casida was on the syndicated Cari and Rob Show Thursday, where host Rob Douglas called her a "serious candidate," and some journalists in the district are treating her like one. She's gotten good coverage in, among other outlets, the Grand Junction Sentinel, Craig Daily Press, on Grand Junction's NBC affiliate, Channel 11, and others.
But despite the stakes and the intereting political undercurrents, no major Denver media have reported on Casida's shoestring campaign. Not the Denver Post. Not any local TV station.
On the radio Thursday, Casida, a Colorado native who's run a small marketing business for the past six years, explained why she wants to be in Congress:
What really started to make me more interested in politics is a lot of the federal rules and regulations that are coming down the pike that are having negative repercussions on small businesses, which are the backbone or our economy, and in my opinion something we really have to allow to flourish to get out of the economic turmoil that we're in.
She wants to be a "good statesman, not a politician" in the mold of Ron Paul, who's "advocating for use of the Constitution at the federal level of government."
She also likes Justin Amosh, who's "doing something great for the youth movement and the liberty movement." Host Cari Hermacinski pointed out that Casida is a young woman, "frankly a face that the conservative movement needs more of."
Asked by host Hermacinski if she gave some thought to running on the Republican ticket, Casida said:
Absolutely. I did for a brief period of time. I did follow what happened in 2010 with the McConnell campaign fairly closely. I feel like a lot of the Republican Party has become fairly corrupt in saying that they stand for small government, saying they stand for the Constitution, Republican values, so they profess. But I don't believe they are actually standing for that. And I think the race with McConnell was one that people might recognize. The Republican Party, at least in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District is not ever going to allow a candidate like myself to run on the Republican ticket.
We have to get back to what our founding fathers had intended. Our founding fathers warned us against political parties, and the reason is, political parties are a collective, which is collective rights, which is the antithesis of individual rights, which is what the Constitution protects.
Casida believes she needs to raise $250,000 to "compete effectively" in the race.
"In July/August we'll have a good idea on how effective we can be," she told me. "It's not only financial support but also grassroots support. The ballot access is fairly easy. I need 800 signatures, and we have a window of time to capture them in."
"I feel that there's a group of people whose voice isn't being heard by the two-party system," she said.