Doctor enters intense U.S. Senate race as independent

DENVER - Amid an already intense race for the senate seat held by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado,) an unaffiliated candidate jumped in on Thursday - billing himself as a serious contender for independent voters.

Dr. Steve Shogan, a neurosurgeon who also has a law degree, plans to close his medical practice at Rose Medical Center in order to devote himself to the race.

It will be an uphill battle in the race, in which a virtually unlimited amount of money can be spent by backers of Udall and his challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado.)

"We really think he's cutting it right down the middle," said Shogan's campaign manager Sue Hoover, who bills her candidate as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

Shogan is billing "replacing" Obamacare as his headline issue and also plans to put heavy emphasis on addressing the national debt - issues that should appeal to conservatives.

"He's very pro-women's rights, pro-gay rights, and supports a path to citizenship [for immigrants in the country illegally]," Hoover said.

The platform could appeal to voters who are hearing negative attacks on those issues from the major party candidates.

It's too early to say which major party candidate might be hurt more (if at all) from Shogan's entry, though qualifying for the ballot should not be an obstacle.

Colorado requires unaffiliated candidates to gather a mere 1,000 signatures from registered voters to appear on the ballot.

For the Shogan campaign, the bigger obstacle will be raising awareness of him and who he is.

"If you said John Elway was getting in, I'd be impressed," said 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli. "A nice neurosurgeon may have a harder time getting his name out there."

It's a job that will require money.

Hoover tells 9NEWS Shogan has 10 fundraising events scheduled following his announcement, but political observers say it will be a very heavy lift.

A couple million dollars have already been spent on advertising in the race with heavy involvement from issue advocacy groups.

"If he is willing to spend obscene amount of money he might find some running room," Ciruli said. "He would need $20 million to really be a contender, to be somebody that would really grab people's attention."

Adding to the challenge, polls show a tight race with few people unsure of who they plan to vote for.

"Polls show 90 percent of the public has been committed for the last couple of months, which is amazing," Ciruli said.

Those polls have Udall and Gardner in a statistical tie.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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