Friday, May 25, 2018

Walker Losing to “Undecided,” But Ahead of Mitchell

A new poll in the Republican stronghold of El Paso County (the 5th Congressional District) shows that five weeks out from the primary, “undecided” is ahead in the Republican race for governor, with Walker Stapleton in a close second and Victor Mitchell in third.

Similar to Stapleton’s Republican convention result (44%), he is the Republican leader, but hardly the consensus nominee. Stapleton likely has the money and momentum to win the primary, but Mitchell has shown considerable political talent to maneuver into second-place. The poll also demonstrates Stapleton’s major task will be putting some fire into the party’s base, while uniting its diverse factions. The poll labeled the Republican electorate in three component parts: 37 percent Trump Republicans, 21 percent traditional, 21 percent evangelical or Christian Republicans, and 16 percent not sure their category.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Griswold vs. Williams – Still Need the Big Blue Wave

Jena Griswold
Jena Griswold, the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, will need a major push from partisan Democrats and other voters saying no to Republicans up and down the ticket to beat incumbent Republican Wayne Williams.

Colorado is a state with a good reputation for honest elections. The system is decentralized with 64 elected county clerks running local elections.

Our most recent Secretary of State controversies involved candidate petitioning with the rules and vendor operations appearing incompatible. With all mail balloting and unaffiliated voters now participating in primaries, it’s hard to argue Colorado isn’t dedicated to ballot access.
Wayne Williams | CBS

Even a blue wave may not help Griswold enough as I said to Jon Murray of the Denver Post:

But Floyd Ciruli, a longtime political analyst in Colorado, cautioned against discounting Williams’ chances.

“If there’s a strong wave, I think it could go up and down the ballot and give (Griswold) a bit of a push, some momentum,” Ciruli said. Still, he added, “Wayne Williams will be the hardest person on the ballot to beat, just generically, because he is a very popular incumbent in an office that is seen as less partisan.”

Griswold has a small fundraising advantage, but as of today, an extra $100,000 or two is not enough to change the dynamics of this election.

Read Jon Murray’s article in the Denver Post here

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Denver Post Dominance is Already Gone

The latest trials and tribulations of the Denver Post only confirm what has been obvious to Denver metro news consumers for several years, and that’s to get the daily news, you might not even start with the Post, but go first to a half dozen online sites.

This is in spite of the Post’s continued news excellence. This weekend edition featured in-depth stories on the #MeToo movement as it affected this year’s legislative session and the gaps in the foster care system and youth homelessness. The Post dedicated a full page to its Colorado Press Association and Associated Press editors’ and reporters’ awards.

But, the competition is too great and the paper too slim to dominate metro political news today. I usually start my morning with the news aggregator, Complete Colorado, and usually click on one or two stories before going to the state’s best general political news site, Colorado Politics. The site is getting stronger with additional reporters and expanding coverage. After a scan of the Post’s main stories, I visit the partisan sites, Colorado Pols (Democrat) and Colorado Peak Politics (Republican).

Westword and The Independent frequently have in-depth stories on the latest political topics and are linked by Complete Colorado. Television and radio websites are often the best on breaking news, and many are getting the earliest and best interviews of key news figures.

The Post still has first-rate reporters and is the place for local sports. But, as it gets smaller, it becomes a news source that must be heavily augmented by other sources.

As he quit the Post editorial page, Dean Singleton said circulation is down to 100,000 daily out of more than a million metro households, a minor share of the advertising marketplace and unlikely to sustain its modest overhead and immodest profit margins for the owners.

Westword: Why the Denver Post will never be sold in a standalone deal
Politico: This is how a newspaper dies

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Most Expensive Primary in Colorado History

In 2017, I predicted we would have a $25 million primary race. Six weeks before the election, the campaigns are 60 percent of the way there. I expect them to hit it since the race is competitive in both parties.

The Democratic candidates have raised and spent the most money. The race appears a dual between Cary Kennedy, with much of the party and labor behind her, and Jared Polis, with money being guided into media and grassroots organizations, especially social media aimed at unaffiliated voters. Also, spending money on media is Mike Johnston. Donna Lynn has neither money nor much of a campaign.

Among the Republicans, Vic Mitchell continues to be the big spender, having self-funded his race at the start with a donation of $3 million. Reports appear to show Walker Stapleton only spent $600,000 during the report period, but he has an independent PAC supporting him. Doug Robinson spent $650,000.

Campaign spending observation:
  • Democrats regularly outspend Republicans in elections. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both outspent their rivals, and it’s common in Colorado. Democrats are outspending Republicans two-to-one so far in this primary.
  • The competition appears more intense on the Democratic side. Democrats believe the primary could be electing the next governor. With changes in the state’s partisanship and help from a blue wave from D.C., Democrats hope for momentum.
  • The Republican race is harder to estimate. Much of Walker Stapleton’s money is in the shadows. The Republican convention showed the frontrunners, but not overwhelmingly. His competitors have some support and money, but no public poll shows them in contention. Republican leaders mostly decided this race early, and thus far, the outsiders have not had an impact.
  • Colorado is a big money state, much of it from the coasts. Both parties intensely want the governorship for a host of reasons, but the presidency and next round of 2020 senate and congressional elections is one of the biggest.

Colorado Politics: Colo. Governor’s race: Who has raised and spent the most so far?
7News: Democrats continue to outperform Republicans in Colorado 2018 governor’s race fundraising

Monday, May 14, 2018

Steve Hogan. Region Loses Leader.

Not surprising, Steve Hogan cited his love of Aurora in his statement upon entering comfort care. The speed of his illness and his passing was a shock, but his candid and dignified description added even more honor to the man’s life and accomplishments.

Hogan’s service to Aurora was fierce. It is a city that has often felt ignored and thwarted. It has long-known its image as a housing development with some strip malls and few trees was neither true nor in alignment with its self-image and aspirations as a fully functioning, third largest city in Colorado.

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan,
Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky and Denver Mayor
Michael Hancock with Popsicle at Mayors Launch
SCFD GOTV, Oct. 4, 2016
Aurora mayors have been its main cheerleaders and protectors. Hogan was up to the task. But, he avoided being hostile to his neighbors or arrogant about Aurora’s many recent successes. He just wanted to make sure the city got its share and its credit.

Demonstrating Hogan’s confident view of Aurora and his own good nature, he was a friend and respected colleague of his fellow metro mayors and champion of regional projects.

In 2016, Hogan joined a group of fellow mayors promoting the renewal of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), the regional cultural funding program, which benefits all the cities in the region. The renewal passed in all seven metro counties, including Arapahoe (and the city of Aurora).

The citizens of the entire region benefited from Hogan’s long effort at making Aurora a great place to live.

Thank you, Steve.

The Buzz; SCFD – An Economic Powerhouse
Denver Post: “Thank you for allowing me to live my best life”: Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan enters hospice care

Friday, May 11, 2018

Republican Party is Now Colorado’s Smallest – Unaffiliated Voters Rule

The Republican Party was dominant in Colorado as the century began. They had 186,000 more registrants than Democrats and were slightly ahead of unaffiliated voters.

Democrats made an incredible surge in registration just before the Democratic National Convention held in Denver and the Obama election win in 2008. By 2009, Democrats equaled Republicans at one million adherents each.

As Democrats were increasing, unaffiliated registration caught fire, and in 2009, all three parties had one million registrants. But, unaffiliated voter registration tracked more closely to the huge population growth in the state. They are now the dominant group with more than 1.4 million registrants.

Republicans had some modest growth since 2000, but stalled in the late Obama years (2013-2015). Democrats continued modest growth after their 2009 surge and are now the second largest party at 1.1 million and about 40,000 ahead of Republicans.

Unaffiliated voters can now participate in primaries and could have even more influence in the general election. Will they vote in either election?

See CPR: Open primaries for unaffiliated voters come with a catch

Thank You for Remembering 1968

Thanks to an engaged audience and our panel of speakers. The events of 1968 brought back a flood of memories of where people were and what the year meant to their lives.

The Denver Press Club is an excellent venue for friendly conversation and interesting presentations. Another great job by the Club and especially Carol McKinley, Tom Foutch and David Milstead. I will continue to comment on 1968 with comparisons to 2018 during the year. See the collective posts on 1968 here.
Denver Press Club Pulitzer Lounge Bar