Friday, June 10, 2022

Crime, A Democratic Party Conflict. Denver Legislative and Mayor’s Races

Dem. candidate for HD6 Katie March
Photo courtesy her twitter account
The June 6 California primary placed in dramatic relief the Democratic Party conflict between its criminal justice reform activists and constituents and its more moderate wing that sees policy failures and a likely political disaster in November from the rise in crime. Colorado Democrats have mostly avoided loud primaries in recent years, but the debate they had on law, order and fentanyl in the legislature is now in a competitive legislative primary and the knives are out.

San Francisco’s high-profile criminal justice reformer DA was recalled in an election that simply asked if San Francisco was safer today than when Chesa Boudin was elected. In Los Angeles, the law and order candidate, Rick Caruso, battled to a draw in a primary with Karen Bass, the establishment liberal candidate who had a police plan, but was seen as less oriented to the public’s security concerns.

Dem. candidate for HD6 Elisabeth
Photo curtesy of Elisabeth Epps
Marianne Goodland in Colorado Politics reported on House District 6 in central Denver running east through the city. The race pits an establishment leadership candidate against a high-profile Black criminal justice advocate who was active in the recent legislative fentanyl battle.

I was quoted as saying many of the leaders endorsing in the race and the issue is likely to be significant in next year’s Denver mayor’s race. 

Pollster Floyd Ciruli said the race is shaping up as a warm-up to the mayoral contest for next year.

Ciruli said the battle in HD6 stems from a "combination of the issues splitting" the candidates, such as on fentanyl, which he said is a perfect example of the lines being drawn among Democrats. He added the feud shows how difficult it is for Democrats to work through their progressive agenda but also adopt pragmatic responses to issues, such as crime.

"Crime will likely be one of the big issues in the mayoral race, along with homelessness," he said, adding the intensity and positions taken by candidates in the race reflect the intra-party divisions on these issues.  "There are no compromise positions."

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