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Birthdate: March 22, 1971
Birth Place: Denver, CO, United States
Residence: Longmont, CO
Brandon Shaffer was born in Denver and now lives in Longmont. As a third generation Denverite, he dreamed of seeing the world. So after earning a bachelor's from Stanford University on an ROTC scholarship, he joined the Navy and was assigned to a destroyer stationed in Japan.
While in Japan, Shaffer met his wife in Yokosuka. He made two deployments to the Persian Gulf and served as a navigator.
Shaffer left the Navy as a lieutenant in 1997 and returned home to Colorado with his wife. He earned a law degree at the University of Colorado in 2001, and has since been in private practice.
He was elected to the state Senate in 2004.
Shaffer and his wife, Jessica, have a son and a daughter.
Brandon Shaffer's career as a U.S. Navy navigator gave him valuable experience for a career in politics, where the Democrat has been both a beneficiary and a victim of shifting political winds.
He was elected to the state Senate in 2004, his narrow victory over Republican Sandy Hume giving Democrats control of the chamber. Shaffer moved quickly through the ranks and became majority leader by 2008.
After the election of President Barack Obama, former state Senate President Peter Groff resigned his seat to become director of faith-based community initiatives for the U.S. Department of Education. Shaffer stepped into Groff's role and wielded the Senate gavel for four sessions.
Required by term limits to leave the Senate after 2012, Shaffer announced in 2011 that he would challenge freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner. At first it looked like political winds would remain at Shaffer's back. Colorado's 4th Congressional District chose a Democrat in 2008, and looming redistricting opened the possibility for the historically conservative district to become friendlier for a Democratic challenger. As president of the state Senate, Shaffer was ideally positioned to steer through a new congressional map enhancing his chances against Gardner.
But the winds turned against Shaffer. The divided Legislature couldn't agree on a map, as Republicans in charge of the House derided a plan they called a "Brandon-mander" because they thought it was aimed at helping Shaffer. The matter ended up in court, resulting in a new map that not only drew Shaffer's home of Longmont out of the 4th District, it made the district significantly safer for Gardner by adding GOP strongholds in Denver's outer suburbs.
After speculation that Shaffer would abandon his Gardner challenge and try somewhere else, Shaffer announced he would remain in Longmont and challenge Gardner, even though Shaffer would no longer live the 4th District. Though allowed by law, the decision left Shaffer with dim prospects for victory. His fundraising never took off. He avoided the press, calling off weekly "Meet The Pres" interviews with state Capitol reporters.
Shaffer also avoided many legislative debates in 2012. Running in an overwhelmingly Republican district, he took the well only to talk in favor of jobs bills and other measures unlikely to anger conservatives.
He abandoned plans announced before the session to seek an overhaul of Colorado's exploding online public schools. His limited agenda found little traction with House Republicans, who saw little advantage in helping Shaffer take on one of their own. Shaffer's biggest jobs proposal, to give state contracting preferences to bidders that would agree to hire Coloradans, died in a House committee.
After his unsuccessful session, Shaffer has attempted to salvage his campaign with a friends-and-neighbors approach of intense personal outreach and door-to-door campaigning. Shaffer has also tried to tap into voter disapproval of Congress, saying on his campaign website, "I'm tired of the continued failures of Washington, which are chipping away at the middle class." But as of midsummer 2012, Shaffer had yet to attack the incumbent he's challenging to try to show Republican voters why they should turn against him.
Source: Associated Press
113th Congress on Twitter
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