Fallon, DeGette race never close in Dem Denver

Republican nominee ran a spirited campaign

By Anthony Bowe
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Congresswoman Diana DeGette proved again on Election Day that the 1st Congressional District is the most Democratic district in the state.

DeGette walloped Republican Mike Fallon, a 19-year emergency room physician, with 67.4 percent of the vote to his 28.8 percent. Her 38-point victory was the largest margin among the state’s seven congressional races.

“I intend to represent you as the dean of our delegation and to never give up and to never give in for the values that we care about,” said DeGette, a chief deputy majority whip, during her victory speech on Election Night.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, speaks to supporters at the Democrats’ watch party after announcing her landslide win over GOP challenger Dr. Mike Fallon.
Photo by Jason Kosena/The Colorado Statesman
Dr. Mike Fallon, Republican candidate for Congress in District 1 this year, acknowledges his loss in a district heavily dominated by Democrats. Fallon says this may not be the end to his interest in politics.
Photo by Pete Heacox/The Colorado Statesman
Campaign workers and volunteers acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the candidate’s mother, Barbara Fallon, who appeared on stage with her son.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

Also on the losing side against DeGette were Green party candidate Gary Swing with 1.3 percent, Libertarian Clint Jones with 1.3 percent and American Constitution Party candidate Chris Styskal with 0.9 percent.

Fallon, who was placed “on the radar” in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program, wishes he had earned at least a few more points.

“Anything at 30 percent or better would be a good showing,” he said. “I had hoped that there’d be a little bit more of a (conservative voting) wave. I would have been ecstatic if we hit 33-34 percent but it’s a tough district.”

Fallon’s platform centered on reducing the size and power of the federal government and stopping future corporate bailouts. The message didn’t resonate in CD 1, which covers Denver and parts of Commerce City, where active Democrats outnumber active Republicans and unaffiliated voters combined.

DeGette used her campaign to support her votes on the stimulus bill as well as on healthcare reform.

“As I speak with local families, I am working to help people better understand the steps the Democratic Congress has taken to lessen the impact of the recession, as well as help them access myriad resources available to them to weather the storm,” DeGette told The Colorado Statesman in September.

In hindsight, Fallon believes it could be years before a Republican can mount a competitive campaign in CD 1.

“I don’t know if anyone could win as of yet. I think it’s going to take chipping away at it over the next couple of cycles,” he said.

Fallon didn’t jump into the race until May. He faced a large funding disadvantage. DeGette raised $733,327 and finishes her campaign with $193,149 on hand. Fallon raised $155,911, which all came through individual donations, and finishes with $26,467 on hand.

“As someone who has never done this before, we obviously made some mistakes getting started,” the doctor said. “I would do it a little more organized, a little earlier and hopefully with a little more money.

Fallon thanked his supporters in an email sent last week.

“Many people who heard I was running in this statistically challenging race said we couldn’t make a dent in Denver. We proved them wrong,” Fallon said. “We may have fallen short in votes, but this election in Denver and across the country was about something greater than a tally of votes.

“A bright fire has been rekindled for our ideals — and this is just the beginning. We will continue to rebuild our party — reaching out to those who have traditionally not aligned with us,” he said.

Fallon worked nine to 12 hospital shifts per month in the ER for during his campaign and has already increased his workload, he said.

“I’m going to go back to work and actually see my kids and get caught up on some personal time and find out what might be next in my life,” he said.

Many people within the district have asked Fallon to remain active in local politics but he remains uncertain about continuing along that track.

DeGette predicted a Democratic resurgence in 2012.

“In two years, the American voters will see why we are representing them and what we are doing for this country to put it on a path toward victory,” the congresswoman said.

Anthony@coloradostatesman.com