Thursday, July 18, 2019

Cory Garner and the BLM

In a major coup, Senator Cory Gardner got the federal government to move one of its agencies to the West. The City of Grand Junction will now become the home of the headquarters of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM manages huge acreage of federal land, mostly in the West, including Colorado. About a third of Colorado’s land is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM.

For Gardner, it demonstrates one of a strong argument for his re-election – an incumbent in the party of the president. Gardner also has the advantage of being in the majority party. Senator Bennet pitched in to support the BLM move, but, of course, was a voice in the political wilderness.

Sen. Cory Gardner | Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Bullock In: Another Western Governor Makes the Debate

The July Democratic primary debate is back to 20 after Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who was left out in June, makes it to replace dropped out California Congressman Eric Swalwell.

At the moment (July 18, 2019), Bullock has a 0.8 percent in the RealClearPolitics average, John Hickenlooper has 0.6 as does Michael Bennet (0.6).

It can’t be good news for Hickenlooper that another well-thought-of western governor joins the stage. There will, no doubt, be a Bullock spike of curiosity and coverage from the media and audience as the new guy on the stage.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock | CNN
Read The Buzz:
Dashboard Before July Debates
Running on Fumes

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Running on Fumes

John Hickenlooper speaks at the Democratic primary debate,
Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019 | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
John Hickenlooper is out of money. The latest FEC reports place Hickenlooper 20th out of 23 candidates listed. Michael Bennet, who has only been in the race three months, managed to rank 10th. Of course, his $3.5 million total was helped by $700,000 from his Senate account.

But, Hickenlooper, whose total raised is $3.2 million, only collected $1.2 million in the latest quarter, with barely $500,000 in the bank. He’s “one” percent in the polls with a debate in twelve days. Along with money, Hickenlooper is running out of time.

The Buzz: Dashboard Before July Debates
Politico: The Money

Monday, July 15, 2019

Dashboard Before July Debates

Nineteen candidates out of twenty are left for the second round of Democratic debates. Many of the 12 that only have one percent or less in polls may be joining Eric Swalwell after August 1.

Top nominees to drop out are: Delaney, Gillibrand and Ryan.

Hickenlooper, who appears to be running on fumes, claims he’s moving to Iowa to see if he can reverse his failed national campaign. That strategy is likely to be a longshot effort since he’s already been there for months with little to show for it. And, all the major candidates who already have a presence there will be soon joining him.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

KOA Interview: Hickenlooper’s Final Debate?

In a Tuesday morning interview with April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz, the July Democratic debate was described as Hickenlooper’s likely last chance to keep his presidential campaign alive.

Recognizing his dire circumstance, Hickenlooper shook up his staff after the last debate when he emerged with weak reviews and still at “one” percent or less in follow-up polls. The next round of debates, starting in September, have a “two” percent polling threshold, which Hickenlooper and most of his 12 fellow “one” percent candidates wouldn’t hit.

One, Eric Swalwell, a little known California congressman who tried to emerge at the last debate taking on Joe Biden as the “too old generation,” quit. Calls are growing for more “one” percent candidates to exit the stage. Hickenlooper is repeatedly being asked to shift to the Colorado Senate race against vulnerable Republican incumbent, Cory Gardner.

In recent interviews, Hickenlooper is beginning to recognize the difficulty of his position.
  • Not a staff issue. He corrected the impression his lack of momentum was staff related. In fact, the problem is that neither Hickenlooper’s quirky personality nor his moderate, progressive message has found a constituency in the Democratic electorate in Iowa or nationally. And, as opposed to Michael Bennet, he’s been campaigning for more than nine months, hard at it since March.
  • It’s not the lack of exposure. He’s had numerous interviews on cable and network news shows, including Morning Joe, the Sunday public affairs panels and a CNN town hall.
  • It’s not money. At least initially, his announcement was accompanied by a $2 million haul, but it has run dry as Hickenlooper has failed to spark much interest from his media exposure or appearances.
  • Next debate will be tough. Hickenlooper has said he’s not a great debater. It may not matter at the July event. There will be an air of desperation on the stage as at least half the candidates realize time is running out.
Hickenlooper is being promoted as a top senate candidate, but he’s made it very clear he’s not interested. Beyond that, the politics of the race is well underway, with a host of candidates already raising more than $3 million. A messy primary is not a political legacy Hickenlooper wants to leave.

Interestingly, as some of the first round of candidates leaves the field, there are more lining up to enter the race. Billionaire Tom Steyer, claiming he will spend $100 million, has just announced, and Stacey Abrams, former gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, continues to be encouraged to enter the race.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Trump Touts Environmental Record

President Trump’s Monday press conference on the environment was roundly criticized by the environmental community and Democrats as a gross distortion of his record. But, it was welcomed by Republican professionals and the RNC as the first sign he’s trying to get beyond his myopic focus on his base supporters.

Typical of a Trump week, he’s in a Twitter war with Great Britain and the U.S. Women’s soccer team. So, a distraction that hues to more normal presidential behavior will be helpful for Republicans, who would like to be more competitive in environmentally-sensitive western states, such as Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.

In a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, Trump got some of the best approval numbers of his presidency (47% registered voters, 44% all Americans), including on the economy (51%), but continued to lag in the 30s on environmental issues (29% global warming). Obviously, Trump and his team want to reposition environmental issues from global warming, to clean air and water, which America already has a long history of effort and considerable success.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Polling: Presidential Race in the West – Evenly Divided

As President Trump begins his re-election campaign, the latest state-by-state Morning Consult poll of presidential approval shows 12 western states that broke fifty-fifty between Trump and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race are still evenly divided above and below his national approval rate of 43 percent.

Trump’s approval has been in a narrow range. It declined from a low 46 percent in the polling averages at his inauguration, with no honeymoon, to settling in at the upper 30s and low 40s his entire first two years in office. Gallup reported on June 30, 2019 that his approval was 41 percent, after starting the year at 37 percent, reflecting the December market crash and January shutdown, moving to a high of 47 percent in early May.

The six western states won by Trump were: Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Texas, Utah and Wyoming (in continental U.S. and Texas). Clinton won six: California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. The same six states each are divided today above and below the 43 percent national average.

Arizona and Nevada clearly appear to be battlegrounds due to latest polling and closeness of the 2016 race (3% and 2%, respectively). But, because of Trump’s high negative, Texas appears vulnerable and Utah, which in 2016 voted strongly for a conservative third-party candidate. Just examining approval ratings, makes Colorado a potential Republican target, but the 2018 election and his high disapproval (54%) makes the state look difficult for a Trump revival.