Thursday, July 18, 2013

Governor’s Race Begins

The race for governor in Colorado has finally picked up a bit of momentum. Senator Greg Brophy of Wray announced, and although he’s an unlikely threat to John Hickenlooper’s re-election today, he does signal that new blood is looking at the race.

Early candidates are coming up with good lines. Brophy said he’s pro-life for the unborn and Hickenlooper is pro-life for mass murderers. George Brauchler, Arapahoe DA, said Hickenlooper was elected the state’s governor not the state’s bartender. Brauchler is interesting because he engages Hickenlooper on a serious weakness, crime and he has a base in the metro area’s top swing county.

However, Hickenlooper remains enthusiastic for the job and has a knack for accumulating friends in the metro power structure. Also working in the governor’s favor is a disorganized Republican Party, the economy in slow recovery and the perception that governors get re-elected (1974 was the last defeat of an incumbent (John Vanderhoof) and he had not been elected on his own, but was the lieutenant governor replacing Gov. John Love, who went to a cabinet position in the Nixon administration).

Hickenlooper has to be somewhat worried that President Obama’s sagging approval could be a weight on the party and turnout will be back to the off-year the 1.7 million, down from 2.4 million presidential level. Hickenlooper only won by 51 percent in 2010 against weak opponents, although in a hellacious year for Democrats.

More specifically, Hickenlooper is dealing with his own convoluted death penalty decision and his failure to issue a single veto against the Republican-described out-of-control Denver/Boulder dominated left wing legislature.

Democrats’ total control of the legislature was assumed to be a burden for Hickenlooper in 2012 post-election commentary. It was, and unfortunately for the Democrats, the problem lives on in two recalls of senior legislators and a revolt among rural public officials. In addition, the Governor has committed to the party, the K-12 public education establishment and the progressive business community that he will actively campaign for a record-level income tax increase for education, reinforcing an image of the tax favoring governor of the liberal state of Colorado.

See 9NEWS: Can Gov. Hickenlooper win re-election?

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