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Senate Candidate Steve Shogan Resurrects Hickenlooper Campaign Approach

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DENVER (CBS4) – Steve Shogan, an independent candidate in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race, is borrowing from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s campaign playbook: airing offbeat but memorable TV ads in the hopes he’ll snag voters’ attention.

One ad focuses tight on a man’s eyes moving independently of each other, and asks:

“What if your two eyes didn’t work together? Well, it would be just like Congress.”

Shogan's campaign ad (credit: CBS4)

Shogan’s campaign ad (credit: CBS4)

Another Monty Python-esque ad says, “It shouldn’t take a brain surgeon to fix Congress … but maybe it does.” Shogan is, indeed, a brain surgeon.

“We wanted to run a different kind of ad,” Shogan told CBS4. “We wanted to run something which was going to get attention but was also not going to be negative.”

The ads are funny, but Shogan is serious about his campaign. He dubs himself a fiscal conservative and social liberal, and he admits he’s a longshot but relishes the underdog role.

“People are fed up with what’s going on in Washington. That in and of itself is what gives us a shot,” Shogan, a self-described Democrat-turned-independent, said.

Shogan's second ad. (credit: CBS4)

Shogan’s second ad. (credit: CBS4)

Health care reform is central to his campaign. He’s opposes President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act but not from the right; he favors more government intervention not less. Shogan says he supports a single-payer system, in which the government would pay for basic Medicare-like coverage for all citizens and provide supplemental insurance for those who can’t afford it.

He’s pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and favors a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He’s pro-fracking, wants to reduce the corporate income tax rate and decrease business regulation.

“I’m definitely in it for the long haul,” Shogan said. “I’m happy to say we’ve heard I’m an agent for both Democrats and Republicans, so I think we must be doing something right.”

One of Hickenlooper’s ad creators from 11 years ago helped shape Shogan’s commercials, but Shogan didn’t seek Hickenlooper’s advice on the ads. He said he saw the governor at an event, told him he was running for Senate and asked for advice.

“Good luck,” Hickenlooper told him, “and you’ll need a lot of money.”

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