The coronavirus emergency has shut down the public aspects of American politics at the moment it was reaching its peak activity. Just as the presidential primary campaigns have become dormant, the Colorado primary race for senate is now frozen in place with virtual county assemblies and state conventions. All to the benefit of frontrunner John Hickenlooper, who is already on the ballot by petition and just announced he would not participate in the party process. He already has avoided candidate forums as much as possible. Any remaining events before the June primary will likely be virtual and mostly devoid of a real clash. Rivals are now denied a live audience and the dynamics needed to show grassroots support.
Along with freezing the primary process just as rivals needed visibility from rallies and party activities, the issues have shifted from the Democrats’ left-center divide to competence. Hickenlooper, who had been on the defense with the party’s far left, is the winner on the issue of executive experience and competence. One of his most salient images in his eight-year term as governor was dealing with crises from fires, floods and horrendous shootings.
It’s hard to imagine Hickenlooper’s final three months until the June primary on more favorable territory.
Mr. Ciruli is the Director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He is an adjunct professor teaching public opinion and foreign policy. The Crossley Center conducts research and presents live and virtual programs on foreign policy, politics, public policy and public opinion.
Mr. Ciruli holds a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree cum laude in political science from UCLA. He is a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), and is the past-president of the Pacific Chapter of AAPOR (PAPOR). Mr. Ciruli is a board member of the Social Science Foundation of the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies and past-president of the Georgetown Law Alumni Board and the Denver Athletic Club.
Mr. Ciruli is widely known to Colorado audiences as a pollster and political analyst. In 2016, Mr. Ciruli was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.