Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Renewables – The Last Straw

Senate Bill 252 will be referred to as the last straw legislation. Republicans are now in full revolt against Governor Hickenlooper and the Democratic legislative leadership.
Less than half (47%) of voters now approve Hickenlooper, with 68 percent of Republicans offering disapproval. Two Democratic members of the legislature are embattled in recall election efforts, including the Senate Democratic leader, and voters disapprove of the legislature’s performance by 49 percent to 36 percent approval in a new Quinnipiac survey.

The renewable bill, which Hickenlooper signed, is cited as the final act against rural Colorado and business, especially agriculture and small towns, which launched the secession movement in northeast Colorado. The following is the Colorado Statesman’s legislative coverage.
Hickenlooper’s decision to finesse the controversy by setting up the advisory committee is “modus operandi,” according to pollster Floyd Ciruli. 
Ciruli told The Statesman Wednesday that it is similar to the governor’s efforts on other issues this session, such as the death penalty decision on Nathan Dunlap or bills opposed by business that were also signed into law. 
“Part of his strategy is that he calls himself socially liberal [on issues like gun control and civil unions] but I’m a businessman too,” Ciruli said.
That strategy was made more difficult in 2013 because of the Democratic control of the General Assembly, he added. It was hard for the governor to finesse and find compromise this session because the sides “are so strongly entrenched that they either want a bill signed or a veto. Nothing in between will help.”
The potential for political fallout for Hickenlooper exists, going into an election in 2014, but much depends on who the Republicans can put up against him. Ciruli cited a recent poll that showed there was a slight decline in Hickenlooper’s overall favorability numbers. Liberal numbers went up, reflecting the governor’s decisions on gun control and civil unions, but his conservative numbers sharply declined, Ciruli said. 
Prior to the 2013 session, Hickenlooper could have run in a Republican primary and won, Ciruli said, with the caveat the Democrats felt he wasn’t liberal enough. But with the decisions made this year, rank-and-file Republicans are ready for an alternative.
“They don’t have confidence that [the governor] will be able to head off a very liberal legislature.”
As to SB 252, Ciruli said that it’s a polarizing and controversial issue, and while Hickenlooper tried to find a middle ground, “I don’t think it will help him.”
Ciruli said it’s one of those ideological issues that applies to those in rural communities and the small power community, all groups that would be great for a Republican candidate. Business elites in Denver will probably stick by Hickenlooper, Ciruli predicted, but rank-and-file Republicans are ready for a good candidate, and if they find one, they will have a race. (Colorado Statesman, 6-8-13)

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