Democrat Alan Kennedy-Shaffer announces he’s running for Colorado Senate District 34 seat

Author: Ernest Luning - August 1, 2017 - Updated: August 1, 2017

Democrat Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, a captian in the Colorado Army National Guard and an attorney, announced on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, that he's running for Denver's Senate District 34 seat represented by term-limited Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver. (Courtesy photo)Democrat Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, a captian in the Colorado Army National Guard and an attorney, announced on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, that he’s running for Denver’s Senate District 34 seat represented by term-limited Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver. (Courtesy photo)

Democrat Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, a captain in the Colorado Army National Guard and a civil rights attorney, declared on Tuesday that he’s running for Denver’s Senate District 34 seat represented by term-limited Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver.

Kennedy-Shaffer, 33, made news recently when he successfully sued President Trump on behalf of a Libyan college student to overturn portions of the president’s travel ban. He also served U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with subpoenas to appear in court to answer questions about the arrest, at Gardner’s request, of five disability advocates who were staging a sit-in protest at the Republican senator’s Denver office.

Following unsuccessful 2015 bids for the Harrisburg School Board and the Harrisburg City Council in Pennsylvania, Kennedy-Shaffer won an appointment to fill a vacancy on the school board in January 2016. He moved to Denver later that spring to pursue a Ph.D. in public policy at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs.

“We need progressive leaders who will be out front fighting for justice for all, education for all and healthcare for all,” said Kennedy-Shaffer in a statement. “We must preserve our planet, protect immigrants who make America great, defend women’s rights, worker’s rights and the Constitution. I will fight for you.”

The Senate district is dominated by Democrats, amounting to almost exactly half of the active registered voters, according to the most recent report by the Colorado secretary of state’s office. Just 12 percent are Republicans, and 36 percent are unaffiliated. Guzman won re-election in 2014 with 74.4 percent of the vote over Republican nominee Stuart Siffring, who polled 19.6 percent, and Libertarian candidate Brian Scriber, who received 6 percent of the vote.

Kennedy-Shaffer is the first candidate to announce in the district, although state Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, is said to be considering a run. Pabon didn’t respond to Colorado Politics’ request for comment.

Kennedy-Shaffer has worked as an attorney specializing in criminal justice policy for seven years and serves as a judge advocate, or JAG, with the Colorado Army National Guard. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and a law degree from William & Mary Law School in Virginia. He also received a master’s degree from the College of William & Mary.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


  • From Harrisburg

    August 1, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Colorado do yourself a favor, do not vote for this man. Consider this the first husband coming to warn the second Joe who doesn’t know he is about to marry Satan reincarnate.

    • Candid observer

      August 1, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Wow tell us more. He seems super partisan and hardly understanding of the unique issues facing Colorado. A quick Google search finds he was booted from a state liquor position in PA. Did he move to CO to save his political aspirations? He probably picked the safest dem district to provide the quickest opportunity but boy oh boy is he up for a big surprise!

  • Tom

    August 1, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Kennedy-Shaffer ruffled feathers while he was working with the PA liquor board because he wrote non-partisan articles about the liquor laws and its history in PA which was considered a conflict of interest by the board. He was trying to bring more transparency to government operations which should be valued, not vindicated.

    I’d also really like to know what “From Harrisburg” has to say that supports his colorful claim that Shaffer is “Satan reincarnate”. He (or she) paints a powerful image but really says nothing of any specific leadership concerns. I learned of this article from a LinkedIn post because I am interested in Shaffer’s politics. I’m really curious to know how someone from Harrisburg has such an immediate finger to the pulse of a local Colorado election announcement.

    • Eric Popantana

      August 6, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Tom, I’ve seen AKS in action. He’s a two-faced grandstanding loser of many elections because the good folks of Harrisburg knew him too well.

  • Candid observer

    August 1, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    @Tom good points, still learning. Lived in North Den for 20 years and just have concern whenever someone moves her just to run for office. Can represent us if you ain’t us. Will wait and see how the race unfolds!

  • Pennsylvania

    August 1, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    The man is a grandstander. He does things to get in the news and rarely follows through. While certainly free to come to your own conclusions about Al, news of this has become a conversation point back in Pennsylvania political circles. We are only surprised it took him this long to find his next target. This article even links to how he was thrown off the ballot in Pennsylvania. A case where the judge stated Alan “failed to act in good faith or with due diligence based on his status as an attorney.”

  • jm fay

    August 2, 2017 at 5:03 am

    Like we need another carpet bagger running for our offices! This guy has alot of nerve. He just moves to CO last year and already wants to be in our Senate! One of 35 Senators to cover 100000 square miles and over 5.5 million people. How exactly do you know our state and its people if you just moved here?

    Past time we changed our laws to make it harder to run for office here and not easier. That means making people have a 5 year or more residency to run for our legislature and various other offices. This does not mean lowering the age to run for these offices however which is on our ballot next year! (25 proposed to go to 21). We have seen too many people do this in our area. HD 41 and 42 come to mind and this was just in the last 6 years or so; not to mention CD 6 which some are running for now; and they dont even live in the district. This is about Jason Crow who all the Dems are getting behind and who lives in Denver!

    • Mike

      August 10, 2017 at 1:03 am

      Making it harder to run? You have got to be kidding me. That’s completely antithetical to the foundation of democracy. Let the voters decide. Also, Crow is in the process of buying a home in CD6. Since you’re so concerned about residency issues there, have you checked into where the Coffmans live? There’s more than one residence there. Thoughts like this are exactly why Dems will continue to falter.

  • David Diano

    August 2, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    If you follow the link about his “unsuccessful 2015 bids”, you’ll see that he notarized his own petitions as was thrown off the ballot. The only strategy I can see for his switch from Pennsylvania to Colorado is that voters would have to be high to elect him, and PA hasn’t legalized weed.

    From the article:
    “A Dauphin County judge on Friday struck Harrisburg City Council candidate Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ‘s name from the Democratic primary ballot, concluding errors on his nominating petitions were fatally defective.

    Harrisburg resident Jan Prosseda had sought to nullify Kennedy-Shaffer’s nominating petitions because Kennedy-Shaffer, who is a licensed notary, notarized the signatures of three of his circulators who had gathered his 249 signatures.

    Prosseda’s attorney successfully argued that Kennedy-Shaffer’s petitions should be thrown out because notaries are not allowed to witness documents in which they have a direct interest.”

  • Jack V

    August 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Wow the Dem party truly is trying to turn Denver into a far-left oasis for illegals and entitled brats. “Healthcare is a right” is the new narrative showing exactly how clueless the party is undermining the basis for our ‘rights’ and further turning the city into a fullblown welfare state. I remember 10 years ago when I saw more bush than kerry signs in my neighborhood, then it become mostly obama signs, then last year basically no yard signs for presidential candidates at all. We’ve all left our parties and I am for one sick of party politics dividing this otherwise common-sense state. Dist. 34 went 74% dem in 2014 so it probably will go for this guy just because of the D by his name, despite his complete and utter lack of any connection to the district other than just moving in within the past year. He probably picked 34 specifically for the opportunity to get elected it is obvious he is a party loyalist and will do whatever Dem leadership wants. I want a candidate with a backbone to stand up to both parties. If a more viable option comes out that isn’t hardcore Democrat or Republican a district full of so many young voters like this could elect someone different for a change. It will be a fun 2 years ahead. Trump lost CO so 2018 might be the year Dems could overcome the normally strong republican turn out in off-year elections but will they know how to appeal to the 1.1 million independent majority voters who currently have no representation in house or senate in Colorado.

  • Eric Popantana

    August 6, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I’ve know Alan for years and found him to be a grand-standing, self-promoting, two-faced, opportunistic windbag.

    There are very good reasons why he couldn’t win an election for so much as dog catcher. I just hope the good folks of Colorado see though this office shopping wannabe.

  • John Cambell

    August 7, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    People of Colorado, DO NOT VOTE FOR This MAN! He is a waist of space and to give an example. He ran for Dauphin County Democrat Chair about 3 years ago as he went against two other people as this was a non paying position thats used for a stepping stone for better things. Then he tried to run for Harrisburg City Council and LOST due to cheating and notorizing HIS OWN Registration Forms. (Its a fact, search, then he ran for Harrisburg School Board, lost but was given a spot later when another resigned. Allen was there until he decided to resign and move to Colorado as he wasn’t happy with that function. When he loses the elections, he is very unprofessional to all who voted for the winner, he complained to the press (Christine Vendel of the Patriot News) made up stories and so on. He dated this reporter or something because no matter what, he made sure she would do an article about him no matter what it was. A great majority of the reports were articles not worth the time to read, not important compared to other races that deserved the attention of the local newspaper but never get it, only him. For example, he had her print an article in the Patriot News on 8/6/17 to let all in PA know he was running for the Colorado postion. Why? None of us in Pennsylvania could care less what he did or where he was. Well he is that way as he did it to show people in PA that if we dont vote for him, then he will move to Colorado to run. The main reason more than anything is why he decided to leave PA. Thats because John Hanger resigned from Governor Tom Wolfs administration. When John Hanger was Pennsylvania Secretary of Planning and Policy he always protected Allen with the jobs he had with the state. House of Reps, The PLCB and a few others. He got into trouble a few times and had to leave his positions but Hanger would get him a new job as he was good friends with John Hanger as he helped him during is run for PA State Governor which he lost. More could be said about this man and if you need more info, just search Pennlive and read all of the comments under EVERY single article about him as they are very detailed then this comment.

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