Colorado Postmortem

Colorado didn’t fare as well on election day as much of the nation. There are several reasons why this is so. Trying to pin key losses on one or two reasons oversimplifies what really happened here. This diary isn’t going to have a bunch of links to past events. I’m sure there are going to be people out there that disagree with my analysis here, and could provide links to prove their view. What follows is one man’s opinion that had the ear of the candidates, the key bloggers in the State, and my own general observations.

The Good

Cory Gardner won in CD-4 over Betsy Markey. Markey won in 2008 due to several factors, primarily because Marilyn Musgrave’s popularity waned on all sides, and the popularity of Obama in Colorado. Markey joined the bluedog democrats, but voters in CD-4 saw through this and rejected her due to her consistently liberal voting record. Cory is a small businessman that has been in state politics for awhile. He’s from the eastern plains, so look for him to champion small business and farm interests. He will be a consistently reliable vote for fiscal and social conservatism.

Scott Tipton won in CD-3 over John Salazar. Salazar had been in office since 2004, and previously held his own due to a moderate voting record, but like Markey, he voted consistently Reid-Pelosi agenda. This win along with CD-4 puts the rural areas of Colorado back in Republican hands.

The GOP also won back the state House, by an extremely thin margin of 33-32. This should dampen the fears that Democrats would have a free hand at redistricting.

The Bad

Ryan Frazier lost to Ed Perlmutter. This one is still puzzling, but I’ve come to the conclusion that CD-7 is bluer than previously thought. It was the right candidate in the right year, and yet the election just wasn’t that close. Unless the demographics change naturally in this district, it’s likely to be a comfortable Dem hold just like CD-1 and CD-2.

Ken Buck lost to Michael Bennet for the open Senate seat. There are a lot of reasons why Buck lost this race. Certainly having the NRSC pull money out last minute prevented Buck from being able to respond to last-minute attack ads. Not only were these ads grossly misleading and out-of-context, but they were relentless. The tense primary didn’t help, with both candidates slinging mud at each other. Buck’s campaign was inexperienced, and that showed with Bennet being able to successfully run against his own voting record. Buck decided to run far to the right to distinguish himself from Norton, and then during the general tried to move back towards the center, but for many independent voters, they just didn’t buy it.

The Clear the Bench Colorado efforts didn’t pan out, although the State Supremes received fewer retention votes than last time around, so at least it raised awareness.

Proposition 63, the healthcare choice initiative, went down, primarily due to the number assigned to it. Amendments 60 & 61 were poorly written, 62 was another attempt to define life beginning at conception, which failed miserably last time. People just decided to vote no to all of them.

The Ugly

What a debacle the Governor’s race was. Not only did the democrat get over 50% of the vote, but it most likely affected other races. And to think this all started out with Bill Ritter having about the same chance at re-election as mbecker’s dead white cat. The establishment pushed McInnis (knowing full well of his plagiarism issues), the Tea Party backed an unknown candidate in Maes who it turns out was running for Governor because that’s the best job he could find in a slow economy, all the while the best candidate in the original field ended up slinging mud at our eventual Senate candidate.

The state GOP has a lot to answer for, starting with Dick Wadhams. It doesn’t really matter how you paint it, a true leader knows in the end he shoulders the responsibility either way. We’ll probably have to start with a clean slate before we begin to make progress again. The Tea Party needs to evaluate their own failures. No Tea Party-backed candidate or initiative was successful in Colorado, although I’m sure the enthusiasm helped other downstream races that were won.

As for me, at least I gained a congressional representative that will listen to his constituents. All my other representatives are democrats, which means they’ll find new ways to spend money they don’t have and charge it to my children and grandchildren. The voters in my city even voted for higher property and sales taxes. I can’t do much about the property taxes at this time, but I can certainly start shopping in the neighboring communities to avoid the sales tax, and that’s exactly what I plan to do, along with a lot of other people I know. Businesses will continue to move out to Timnath, Windsor & Loveland, but that’s what happens when you try to become Boulder North.

Lots of local work still to do….

Night Twister

P.S. My biggest disappointment of all was the failure of Denver’s Initiative 300. It’s clear there’s no intelligent life in Colorado anymore, so I was secretly hoping we’d find some elsewhere and maybe…just maybe…these aliens would vote Republican.