In 2021, there is a Red Tide from the East. Republicans showed that there’s a path for success, even with Donald Trump hovering. The Virginia and New Jersey results affirmed the old rule that off-year elections are a problem for the presidential party. Augmenting the problem is the President’s low approval; the still dangerous COVID variant with all the controversial mandates and protocols; the signs of long-term inflation; Democrats’ chaotic delivery of a legislative product; and the party’s inept handling of domestic social issues of crime, policing and education.
If Colorado Republicans can follow the model, could they get back some of the positions lost since the 2018 midterm? As described below, they certainly have some targets of opportunity, and a supportive national environment.
- The just approved congressional redistricting map makes two seats appear very competitive – the new 8th CD from the north Denver suburbs to Greeley and Ed Perlmutter’s new extended into the south-central Colorado 7th CD.
- Michael Bennet does not have a well-established image nationally or in Colorado. He will be burdened by the drag of the President and national party. But Bennet is a strong campaigner and will be well-financed. It will require a Youngkin-type Republican candidate to make it a race.
- Statewide, Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s high-profile partisanship and Treasurer Dave Young low profile make them the two most vulnerable statewide Democratic officials.
- Local races, especially for county offices, should be winnable and it would restore some of the positions lost in 2018 and 2020. Of course, there will be a few legislative seats to target, especially in the Senate, but a majority in either House will still be a reach.
It could be a very productive year for Republicans, or like recent elections, a bust. It will depend on organization, message, and candidate selection.