Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bennet is on Deck in 2016

Now that Colorado has reestablished its swing state status after the November 4 split decision, speculation has started concerning first term Senator Michael Bennet’s re-election prospects.

The Hill newspaper published an early review of Bennet’s circumstances. There are several factors that point to his initial advantages going into the election:
  • Voter turnout will be up to presidential levels. The 2 million this year will balloon to 2.7 or 2.8 million. Many of the less frequent voters lean Democratic.
  • Bennet works his Washington and Senate networks for maximum advantage. He’s substantially less publicity shy than Mark Udall. It’s assumed he’ll be ready with a powerful resume and a substantial war chest. 
  • The Republican bench in Colorado is thin if current officeholders are the main prospective candidates. Congressman Coffman and State Treasurer Stapleton may not be interested. Stapleton looks more to the governorship in 2018 and Coffman would not necessarily get the field clearing effort by major donors and Republican leaders that Cory Gardner received.
But there are several factors that point to a tough race for Bennet:
  • The Democratic nominee for president and Democratic senators up for re-election will likely be running with a very unpopular president. Historically, passing on the presidency to the same party after an unpopular president is difficult.
  • It is far from clear Washington and especially Congress will be in any better graces with the public in 2016 than today. In any event, maneuvering the gridlock and partisanship will produce votes that will test the most agile politician. 
Bennet’s recent vote in favor of the Keystone Pipeline was understandable given his previous position on the issue and responsibility for vulnerable Democratic senators, like Mary Landrieu, but it upset grassroot environmental Democrats. There will be many votes over the next two years that produce conflict between trying to find agreements with Republicans and the interests of Democratic core constituencies.

Also see Washington Times:  Colorado Republicans claim biggest legislative win

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