Monday, July 21, 2014

Hickenlooper vs. Polis – The Fight’s On

Big win for Colorado’s political consultants. A minimum $10 million, and possibly $20 million, ballot
Gov. Hickenlooper joins Old Crow Medicine Show
on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, July 16, 2014.
Photo: Seth McConnell,
campaign appears to be on the way. Proponents only need to come up with about 30,000 signatures per week between now and August 4 to make their 86,000 valid signatures. It is costing a likely $200,000 per week to pay gatherers to get it done, but small change in this war.

Big loser at this point is the Democratic Party. Governor Hickenlooper and legislative Democrats with business allies could not unite their own forces. And, not surprising, Republicans didn’t join since the disarray in the Democratic ranks is in their interest in November.

Over the next three months, a media and public relations war will be waged between Democratic officeholders and candidates and the left-leaning and environmental base of the party. It won’t be pretty. Although each side will try to sound like they have reasonable arguments and solutions, environmental polluters and corporate lap dogs will likely soon be battling urban eco-extremists and anti-jobs trust funders.

As Brandon Rittiman at 9News reported:
It’s a serious loss for Hickenlooper on a couple of fronts.
“No. 1, he put a lot of political capital into this, he worked hard on it. It failed,” 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli said. “It's a leadership question and [Republican challenger Bob] Beauprez will clearly take advantage of it.”
The issue is also poised to divide Democrats in a contentious election year, with top-of-ticket candidates like Hickenlooper supporting the oil and gas industry despite strong sentiment against fracking among environmentalists in the party’s base.
Ciruli says the danger for Democrats is not that some liberal voters will vote for GOP challengers, but that they will vote on the ballot questions and leave the big races like governor and senator blank.
“That could be 3,000 or 4,000 votes. It could be a few more. It’s hard to say. As you know, this is a very environmental state,” Ciruli said. “The reason why they were fighting so hard against [a ballot question on fracking] is that they feel it could hurt the entire Democratic ticket.”
Rep. Jared Polis
Jared Polis is a winner today. He agreed to a “take it or leave it” compromise, which was rejected, and he has the money to get on the ballot and run a campaign. He argues that his initiatives are popular and will connect the party to a popular issue and passionate constituency.

Ironically, Polis helped create the modern Colorado Democratic Party. But his ballot strategy is seen as divisive in a difficult election year. A Democratic governor, U.S. Senator and control of the State Senate are at risk. If they lose, he loses.

See The Hill: A fracking problem for Dems

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