Colorado Democrats are beginning to fear the conclusion of their eight-year dominance of Colorado politics may be within sight. The high point was two years ago when Democrats controlled both senate seats, the governorship and the legislature.
Senator Mark Udall now appears to be falling behind in public polls to Congressman Cory Gardner. His handlers have moved from arguing about the polls to claiming their hyper-GOTV effort will save the day. Maybe, but GOTV can’t turn out people in a weak persuasion environment.
But, the bigger problem is the collapse of Governor Hickenlooper’s re-election campaign. Even in August before the polls turned south on the Democrats, Hickenlooper was running behind Udall by two or more points. A failing incumbent governor could drag down the entire ticket.
Fundamentally, John Hickenlooper lost his highly valuable image as a centrist and non-politician with the 2013 Democratic legislature, the strange interaction with the Colorado Sheriffs, and the sudden and ill-presented death penalty decision.
Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press, made the point in his 9KUSA discussion with me and Brandon Rittiman. Also see Nate Silver: “Senate Update: When Should Democrats Panic?” and “Senate Update: A Troubling Trend for Democrats in Colorado.”