Friday, June 19, 2020

KOA Interview With Marty Lenz: Hickenlooper Has Turned This Into a Race

John Hickenlooper has turned this into a race with his ethics violations, contempt citation and unsteady debate performances. During April and May, the pandemic had frozen Hickenlooper’s lead in first place. But in June, as the state opened up, his campaign came apart. He still has the advantage in name identification from two terms as governor and $4 million in the bank, but establishment Democrats are getting concerned.
  1. His performance Tuesday night in the first side-by-side studio debate at Channel 7 was better than the two previous virtual encounters. But, he still spent considerable time on the defense explaining his comments on Black Lives Matter and now a reference to slave ships. And, of course, forced to explain that he doesn’t believe he’s above the law related to his contempt citation and fines for the ethics gift violations. 
  2. Hickenlooper’s primary argument is that he’s won two statewide races in down years for Democrats and Andrew Romanoff has lost. In fact, in Romanoff’s 2014 loss for Congress, he was defeated in Arapahoe County, which Hickenlooper carried in his gubernatorial race. The challenge for Romanoff is can he get his message out beyond the online activist constituency?
  3. A new and possibly influential factor in the race is Republicans are starting to spend hundreds of thousands on ads attacking Hickenlooper on his ethics violations and disparagement of running for senate. Hickenlooper points out that the Republican national senate committee and the Cory Gardner campaign videos are proof Republicans fear him and want Romanoff to win. Will Democrats discount the ads because of the source or listen to the message, hence helping Romanoff?
  4. We don’t know turnout, but two years ago in the gubernatorial primary, 635,000 voted, with 200,000 unaffiliated participating. Nearly one million voted last March on Super Tuesday, mostly for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In recent Colorado elections, the ballots tend to be returned the last two days, so expect furious campaigning over the next two weeks, if not in-person rallies, then on Zoom and in the media. This feels like a much closer race than a month ago.
Last night, Hickenlooper said he was passionate for the job. He is finally trying to get into this race, but he’s late. Too late?

Listen to KOA interview here

Former Governor John Hickenlooper (L) and former State House
Speaker Andrew Romanoff get ready for a debate in the Denver 7 studios,
June 16, 2020 | Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post 

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