Thursday, December 5, 2013

It’s Close to Panic – New York Times

State Senator Evie Hudak was forced to resign for the good of the party and her legislative caucus. Making the announcement right before Thanksgiving, Democrats were hoping for a one-day story. However, the longer-term narrative continues, Colorado Democrats remain on the defensive after losing their third state senator.

If Hudak had been recalled, power could have changed in the State Senate. Along with the high risk of losing the seat, the battle would have carried over to the beginning of the legislative session, leaving the Democrats defending a vulnerable legislator and talking about gun control, a subject they would like to get some distance from.

Democrats now enter the 2014 election with a one seat majority and having to defend at least two seats difficult to hold; the Morse seat in Colorado Springs and the Hudak seat in Arvada. Governor John Hickenlooper’s re-election has also been hurt by the Democrats legislative battles.
New York Times, Jack Healy
But Floyd Ciruli, a political analyst in Denver, said Ms. Hudak’s resignation amounted to a surrender before the fight began and was another sign of trouble for state Democrats. It comes weeks after voters overwhelmingly rejected a $1 billion tax increase to reform Colorado’s schools, a measure championed by Gov. John W. Hickenlooper and other prominent Democrats.
“When you add all that in together and stir in the collapse of the national brand, the congressional Democrats, the president and the Affordable Care Act, it’s close to panic,” Mr. Ciruli said.
Reuters, Keith Coffman
Independent Denver political pollster and analyst Floyd Ciruli said it was clear Democrats had pressured Hudak to resign to avoid losing their slim majority in the state Senate. Democrats have 30 days to appoint a successor, and that person must stand for election next year.
“I don't think the Democrats wanted to take the risk of losing another seat,” Ciruli said. “This way, they can keep the majority at least through the upcoming legislative session.”
Colorado Public Radio, Ben Markus
To political observers, the resignation comes at a curious time.
“Doing it right during this holiday I think the assumption is it will be a short story,” Floyd Ciruli, a longtime Colorado pollster, said. “But it does add one more piece to this sense that Democrats are playing some serious defense.” 
Ciruli said Hudak’s resignation is embarrassing for Democrats and sets up tough election battles next November – not just for state legislators but also for Governor John Hickenlooper, whose popularity is suffering. 
“To lose three legislators in one year out of your state senate is pretty extraordinary,” Ciruli said.
It’s also unprecedented.
Also see The Colorado Observer: Analysis: Dems feared collateral damage from Hudak recall

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