Monday, December 23, 2013

Reuters – Hickenlooper Moves to the Center – Promises a Veto

In a final pre-2014 press conference, Governor Hickenlooper makes clear he heard the message – move back to the center of the electorate and get control of his party.  While it was a bit of a joke, he made clear to his party leadership a veto is coming.

Reuters describes Hickenlooper’s problem:
In his first two years as governor, Republicans had control of the state House of Representatives, which independent Denver political analyst Floyd Ciruli gave Hickenlooper political cover and played to his image as a moderate.
But an aggressive agenda on the part of legislative Democrats who now hold majorities in both houses and who Hickenlooper seemed unwilling to confront gave ammunition to potential opponents, Ciruli said.
Still, analysts said it was far too early to write Hickenlooper's political obituary.
The Republican Party in Colorado is fractured between pragmatists and Tea Party groups, and a messy primary could weaken the eventual nominee, Ciruli said. The governor could regain momentum with a strong, bipartisan State of the State address when the legislature reconvenes in January. (Keith Coffman, 12-20-13)
Hickenlooper, like President Obama, had a difficult year. His approval was in the 60s in January and the 40s in December. He is in a major repositioning as he starts his re-election year. He advocated bipartisanship in an effort to reestablish his moderate image and to reach out to Republicans, especially in rural areas. Republicans will be a tough sell in an election year. They believe he and his party are in trouble. But also he messaged Democrats that their most partisan bills and procedures will be resisted.

Hickenlooper was conciliatory. On gun issues and the renewable energy bill, he stated he would sit down if something could be done to make the legislation work better. He said no to new gun controls, but it’s unlikely he will back up on current legislation.

Mostly, Hickenlooper focused on the economy in an effort to get back to the public’s top issue and his roots, which is small business.

His fourth State of the State speech will be his toughest as he launches an effort to recapture some of the previous era of good, or at least better, feelings while dealing with a defensive party and aggressive opposition.

See Reuters: Shootings, other woes take political toll on Colorado governor

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