Friday, October 17, 2014

Colorado’s Two Parties

Real Clear Politics has proposed a new index to measure strength of the two parties nationally by aggregating election results and creating an index showing the partisan control of the presidency, Congress and the states; i.e., governors and legislators.

A slightly modified version in Colorado shows the parties in close competition and, although Democrats are exercising more control due to their holding the governorship, both senators and a majority in the legislature, Republicans have an advantage in raw numbers due to their majority of county commissioners.

In recent elections, John Hickenlooper received 51 percent of the 2010 vote for governor and Michael Bennet received 48 percent of the vote for U.S. Senate. The 2012 total congressional vote was 1,076,000 for the Democrats and 1,143,000 for the Republicans. And, of course, President Obama won the state twice, with 54 percent and 52 percent in 2008 and 2012, respectively.

Republicans have considerable clout at the county level. They dominate county commissionerships nearly two-to-one and have near complete control of many top counties with Arapahoe, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa and Weld. Democrats control Adams, Boulder and Pueblo. Denver is a municipal/county hybrid of “non-partisans” in which Democrats rule. Democrats tend to have somewhat more influence in large municipalities, but the officials are described as non-partisan.

Bottom line is that Democrats, due to a strong campaign application and Obama’s popularity have dominated top positions since 2006 in Colorado, but that Republicans maintain a strong platform to keep Colorado competitive in 2014 and in the next presidential election.

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