Thursday, December 8, 2016

The 2018 Governor’s Race Starts

Candidates are lining up in both parties for the 2018 governor’s race in Colorado. Democrats haven’t had a competitive race for more than a decade. Bill Ritter ran unopposed in 2006 after both Ken Salazar (who opted for U.S. Senate) and John Hickenlooper (stayed Denver mayor) dropped out. In 2010, Hickenlooper was more or less appointed to the nomination after Ritter declined to run for a second term.

But already, in anticipation of 2018, at least a half dozen Democrats are floating their names, including State Senator Mike Johnson, former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Congressperson Ed Perlmutter, and back from Washington D.C., Ken Salazar. Several legislators are also being mentioned.

Republicans have had tough primaries. In 2010, chaos ruled when the establishment frontrunner, Scott McInnis, was defeated in a primary by an unknown Tea Party advocate. Tom Tancredo, former congressman, jumped in the race and won more votes than the Republican nominee Dan Maes. Bob Beauprez was the nominee in 2006. Although he made it without a primary, a well-funded opponent who failed to make the ballot did him much damage. In 2014, he got through a five-person primary, but lost to Hickenlooper by 5 points.

Beauprez is not on the 2018 list, but early names mentioned are District Attorney George Brauchler, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, businessman Kent Thiry, and a variety of legislators and state party officers.

Although Democrats have had a good run in Colorado, holding the office since 1974 except for the eight Bill Owens years (1998-2006), the Barack Obama presidency has been hard on the Democratic Party. They are down to only 18 governors and will be anxious to hold onto Colorado.

Also read The Buzz: Can Democrats hold the Colorado governorship?

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