Democrat Angie Paccione is one of a handful of candidates running for congress in CD-4 in what could end up being the first Democratic primary in the northern Colorado area in years. A former aide to Sen. Ken Salazar, Betsy Markey, announced her candidacy last week, and former Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness has switched parties to the Democrats and plans to run again in 2008 as well.

All three candidates are hoping to knock off incumbent Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, who won re-election over Paccione and Eidsness last fall with the lowest winning percentage of any congressional candidate in the country. It is largely because that race was so close, in fact (Musgrave edged Paccione by a margin of 46-43 percent), that supporters of Paccione are now saying that she “deserves” to be allowed to run again without the threat of a primary.

To quote Clint Eastwood’s character from the movie “Unforgiven”: Deserve ain’t got nothing to do with it.

You could argue that because Paccione came so close, she might be the Democrats’ best choice to run again in 2008. You could also argue, however, that Paccione should have beat Musgrave but didn’t. Either way, Paccione isn’t entitled to have the Democratic nomination to herself, which she had in 2006.

I don’t think that the results of a previous election ever give you some sort of claim to be able to run again. The Chicago Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts in last year’s Super Bowl, and while the game wasn’t particularly close, if the outcome had come down to the wire, would the Bears deserve to represent their conference in the Super Bowl next year? Of course not. Last year is last year, and this year is this year.

Paccione may very well be the best Democratic candidate in 2008, but that doesn’t mean that every other Democrat should politely get out of the way.