The Colorado 4th District now belongs to the Democrat Party for the first time in a long time. They should not unpack their boxes. Fort Collins is a College town. The core of the University is mainly liberal despite this being an “agricultural” college. It has a broad technical college that has a fairly strong base of liberal professors. From what I see, Obama was able to get out the vote in the close in urban areas of Larimer County to overcome the conservative votes in the other counties in the District and that brought Markey in on his coat tails. Colorado, outside of the Cities is full of bitterly clinging Christians who are the salt of the earth and the backbone of that state.
The town itself is liberal. The City Council had been very much against growth and saw their fortunes plunge economically as other communities (Loveland, Greeley) with more conservative governments took away form the retail tax bas eby being open to development.
If you look at the rest of the district, it is solidly conservative, rural and agricultural. Because of the agricultural base it sometimes mixes in a strong lean towards food subsidies, but is otherwise very conservative.
Bob Schaefer was a strong conservative that served 4 terms and walked away to keep a pledge he made when he ran, this despite the fact that most voters in the District did not want him to honor his pledge.
Colorado politics has been swayed to a great extent by the money of the “Gang of Four” Tim Gill, Jared Polis, PatStryker and Rutt Brindges. All of them are very rich (Billionaires) and extremely liberal. IN 2004 they plunged millions of dollars into races, 527 and advertising to swing the balance of power to the Democrat party.
Up until that time, the State had been in control of the Republican Party across both houses of the legislature and the Governorship under the excellent leadership of Governor Bill Owens (Owens in ’12).
Owens ws term limited in 2006 and again in 2006, the Democrat Party jumped in seeing what millions were able to do in 2004. The State was overrun with Union activists, Acorn and millions not only from the Gang of Four but also every activist Liberal group you can imagine, believing (rightly) that they could flip the state. The unpopularity of Bush at the time did not help.
By adding some honey-pot amendments to drag in otherwise lackadasiacal voters and a strong organizing effort they flipped all of the Legislature and the Governorship and 5 of the Seven Senate and Congressional seats to Democrat control.
However, things are not so sire. The legislature, emboldened by a voter cave in to weaken the Tabor Amendment (restricts the growth of Government Spending) has of course run amok. The economy is weakening and businesses no longer view Colorado so favorably when it comes to attracting business.
Also, the burdens of some of the honey-pot amendments (especially the minimum wage, is starting to erode businesses confidence in the Democrat ability to maintain a vibrant economy. This was compounded by The Democrat Governor reneging on a campaign promise to grant additional sway to the unions by executive order.
Colorado, being a conservative state, believing in freedom, has a weak infrastructure of laws regarding campaign finance and limits. This has allowed outside money to pour in and swing things their way the last few years. However, they have been over-promising and under-delivering. Additionally, I think the Democrats, so full of themselves for the in-roads here will redepoly (Yes, Obama will redeploy everywhere) the external resources that came in the last few years in hopes repeating their success elsewhere.
This will open a crack in 2012. Also, with the collapse of the stock market, me thinks the rich activists will find themselves somewhat restrained. The Republican party should make this a target state to retake the Co 4th, and the Governorship.
Salazar will be up in 2006 and has made himself a caricature of the stereo typical lapdog for Nancy Pelosi . He can be beat with the right candidate and the resources of the party. The question will be, who will be that candidate and will the Republican party be well enough patched back together to field a challenge. If Owens cannot be enticed to look at running for President, I sure hope they can convince him to Challenge Salazar. Most Coloradoans think Bill Ownens walks on water, I know I do. Time will tell.
I live in Florida. I grew up in Miami, but consider Loveland home. I hope to go back in a few years. I hope by then sanity has returned to a great State. In the mean time, I am living in Florida and plunging into local politics to fight the fight myself. I hope others will take up here and keep us all up to speed on what is happening in Colorado.