Bob Seay faces hard battle in Republican-dominated 4th Congressional District |

Bob Seay faces hard battle in Republican-dominated 4th Congressional District

Bridgett Weaver

Bob Seay

Bob Seay knows he's facing a hard battle as the Democratic nominee in a mostly Republican district, but he thinks it's time for change and he hopes to be the one to bring it to Coloradans in Congressional District 4.

He's running for a position in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes all of Weld County and most of eastern Colorado.

Seay's opponent is Republican incumbent Rep. Ken Buck, and in a district with nearly 84,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, the obstacles are obvious.

Seay said he thinks anything can happen.

“I’m realistic enough to know that this is a challenge and I knew that going in, but my chances are as good as anybody’s. I believe in what I’m doing, and I believe in the voters.”Bob Seay4th Congressional District Democratic Nominee

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"We have a strong ground game going on," Seay said. "We've got social media, I'm appearing anywhere they will have me to talk."

He said he thinks he has the makings of a great candidate.

"As a teacher, you have to have a strong anti-bully concept," he said. "And I think my ability to get along with other people will translate well into a Congress that is just dead gridlocked."

He also said he thinks the district isn't fully represented by the leaders who have occupied the seat in years past. Many areas suffer with poverty, and it's something he feels isn't being addressed.

He also worries about the proximity of oil and gas development to other development, about a minimum wage that works in both rural and urban areas and about finding and supporting sustainable energy.

He said he thinks constituents aren't being listened to right now, and he wants to give them a voice.

"It starts from the ground up," he said. "You have to have town hall meetings where you listen and talk. You have to listen to your constituents. And you have to reconcile those needs and come up with something that works for everyone."

Philip Belmont, a teacher, is an unaffiliated voter who said he will vote for Seay. He's worked down the hall from Seay for eight years, and they've eaten lunch together almost daily.

He knows when Seay says something, he means it.

"What you see in his campaign is what you see in Bob in real life," Belmont said. "He's somebody that I want to see win, not just because he's a friend of mine, but because I honestly think he would do something."

Seay knows he can't win the 4th Congressional district with just Democratic votes, which is why he needs votes like Belmont's to win. He also knows he'll have to win over some Republicans to get the "W."

"I'm talking to anybody who will listen," Seay said.

Kyle Saunders, a political science professor at Colorado State University, said it's hard to overcome party affiliation in the 4th.

"Party affiliation is a heck of a drug," Saunders said. "It is probably the best prediction of your behavior when you go into the voting booth. It's very, very difficult to overcome that identity."

Still, there are 148,373 unaffiliated voters who could close that gap for Seay, according to the Colorado Secretary of State's website.

Out of 444,616 active voters in the district, the site shows there are 186,773 registered Republicans in the district and 102,839 Democrats which is a difference of 83,934 votes, for those counting — a number which is still fewer than that of registered unaffiliated voters.

That's the good news for Seay, but it's not great news.

"That sets up a natural advantage for any Republican candidate in the district," Saunders said. "It's really hard to envision a scenario where (Republicans) couldn't figure out a way to maintain that seat. This is what they call a safe district."

What Saunders means is Republicans know there's almost no way they will lose in CD 4 because they have such a strong Republican constituency.

That's why, in 2014, the Republican party decided to ask Buck to run in the district instead of (now) Sen. Cory Gardner. At that time, they believed Gardner would stand a better chance on a state level, which is a mixed bag of voters, than Buck would with his very conservative views. In the primarily Republican CD 4, though, Buck had a much better chance at a win. They were right — Buck took the district and Gardner (somewhat unexpectedly) won the Republicans a coveted seat in the U.S. Senate.

Disproportion in the district isn't abnormal, though, Saunders said.

"A lot of congressional districts are this imbalanced," he said.

Only a handful of districts in the nation are truly a race.

Of course he knows the challenges of running on a blue platform in a mostly red district, but Seay said he thinks anything can happen — this year especially as national politicians are breaking the rules of politics every day.

Again, Seay is fully aware of these challenges, but he said he thinks it's time for change, and he thinks he can bring that to the district.

"I'm realistic enough to know that this is a challenge and I knew that going in, but my chances are as good as anybody's," he said. "I believe in what I'm doing, and I believe in the voters."

Voter registration

The following numbers reflect active voters registered in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District:

» American Constitutional: 1,299

» Democrats: 102,839

» Green: 919

» Libertarian: 4,357

» Republican: 186,773

» Unaffiliated: 148,373

» Unity: 56

Total active: 444,616

Colorado Secretary of State