Tag Archives: Colorado

2020 Senate Races: The Latest

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 15, 2019 — New developments are occurring in 2020 Senate races across the country and several are apparently unofficially set for the general election. Below is a recap:

ALABAMA: Two polls have been conducted since both former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and retired Auburn University football head coach Tommy Tuberville joined the Republican race. Each survey showed Tuberville with the lead. The most recent, from the Cygnal research firm (June 22-23), finds Tuberville leading Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), 29-21 percent. Judge Moore, the 2017 special election GOP nominee, recorded only 18 percent support among the likely GOP voters. An April 14 Republican run-off is likely after the March 3 primary. The eventual party nominee faces Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the general election.

ARIZONA: While the general election already appears set between appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D), the special election schedule is not as clear cut. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a lawsuit that challenges the length of McSally’s current appointment. The ultimate ruling could mean an earlier special election. Currently, the special cycle is to run concurrently with the regular 2020 election calendar.

COLORADO: Signs continue pointing to former Gov. John Hickenlooper leaving the Democratic presidential campaign and entering the Colorado Senate race. He looks strong in a Democratic primary – a recent Garin Hart Yang Research poll posts him to a 61-10 percent lead — but he will face a tough general election against incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

IDAHO: Sen. Jim Risch (R) has announced his re-election campaign for a third term and looks to be a lock for another win.

ILLINOIS: Minority Whip Dick Durbin now has no Democratic primary opposition as state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray (D-Downers Grove) announced several weeks ago that she was ending her Senate campaign. Sen. Durbin is the prohibitive favorite for re-election.

IOWA: The Democratic establishment is coalescing around Des Moines real estate executive Theresa Greenfield. At this point, the general election pairing looks to feature Sen. Joni Ernst (R) and Greenfield.

KANSAS: There is less conjecture that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) will return to Kansas and run for the open Senate seat and more thought that western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) will become a candidate. Mr. Marshall already has $1.4 million in his federal campaign account for the 2020 election cycle. He will face a crowded Republican primary but should be favored. Democrats feature a primary between former US Attorney Barry Grissom and ex-one-term Rep. Nancy Boyda.

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Hickenlooper: Heading Out and In?

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper – running for Senate after all? (Photo Moritz Hager)

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 6, 2019 — Some politicos are saying that former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is poised to end his failed presidential campaign and return home to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). The speculation is largely coming because new Hickenlooper for Senate campaign domain names were just registered in the past few days. That, and in an interview Sunday on satellite radio, Hickenlooper said he would “be a fool” to continue running for president if he couldn’t see improvement in the polls.

Democratic leaders had long attempted to recruit Hickenlooper into the Senate race, but he steadfastly refused to be swayed from becoming a presidential candidate. He went further than rejecting the idea of running statewide in 2020 when he even expressed some disdain for the Senate as a political body. Hickenlooper seemingly ruled out serving in the Senate saying in February that, “I’m not cut out to be a senator,” and that, “Senators don’t build teams. Senators sit and debate in small groups…”

In his absence, no less than 14 Colorado Democrats have come forward to seek the party nomination to oppose Sen. Gardner, who began the 2020 cycle as arguably the most vulnerable Republican incumbent because his state is moving decidedly leftward. Ten months later, however, Sen. Gardner’s re-election chances appear stronger.

Of the 14 active candidates, six have electoral experience and seven have served in either elective, appointed, or political party positions. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold leads the group, and former state House Speaker and statewide candidate Andrew Romanoff, ex-state House Majority Leader Alice Madden, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston, state Sen. Angela Williams (D-Denver), ex-US Ambassador Dan Baer, and former Boulder County Democratic chair Ellen Burnes follow.

It is unclear just how many from this group, if any, would step aside for Hickenlooper, who is certainly a weakened political figure considering his national performance and given that he previously has said he doesn’t want the federal office. Therefore, it is conceivable that he will have to face what could be a difficult Democratic primary, and then Sen. Gardner, who is widely regarded as the best campaigner in the Republican candidate stable. According to the latest Federal Election Commission disclosure report, Sen. Gardner’s campaign account possessed just under $5 million at the June 30 deadline.

Though money will be no object for either Sen. Gardner or the eventual Democratic nominee, Colorado voting history is a major factor. The state has been trending much more Democratic since the turn of the century, and President Trump only recorded 43 percent of the vote in his loss here to Hillary Clinton. Prior to that, the last Republican to carry Colorado was George W. Bush in 2004.

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Electoral Vote Compact Takes a Hit

By Jim Ellis

June 3, 2019 — Recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke one of her strongest applause lines on the presidential campaign trail, when she talked about eliminating the Electoral College. And the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact organization had been gaining significant energy when Colorado, Delaware, and New Mexico officially joined its ranks earlier this year. But, that momentum hit a major roadblock yesterday.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPVIC, began soon after the 2000 presidential election when Democratic nominee Al Gore won the popular vote count but fell to George W. Bush in the Electoral College. The result marked the first time since the 1888 election when the popular vote winner failed to win the presidency.

By 2007, Maryland became the first state to officially join the NPVIC. Today, 14 states are Compact members, representing 189 Electoral Votes. The organization’s stated goal is to recruit enough states to equal a majority of 270 EVs that will agree the respective members will deliver its Electors to the national popular vote winner regardless of how their own electorate votes.

However, the Maine House of Representatives, on a 76-66 vote, defeated legislation late last week to add their state to the growing NPVIC organization. And, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), in a surprise move to some, vetoed the compact legislation that had reached his desk. Earlier in the Oregon legislative session, the state Senate passed its bill to join the compact and action is awaited in the House before the legislative session’s scheduled end on June 21.

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We Now Have Candidate #22 In
The Race, And Sanders is Falling

By Jim Ellis

May 6, 2019 — A new Democratic presidential candidate entered the race late last week, one whom we didn’t expect to see this soon.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet

Despite undergoing prostate cancer surgery last month, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet says he has already received a “clean bill of health” and is embarking upon his national political effort. Now at 22 candidates in the field of Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for the 2020 presidential election, eyes turn to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock who could be the last widely discussed potential candidate yet to make a decision about forming a campaign.

It’s difficult to see how Sen. Bennet breaks through to the top tier, however. He is not well known outside of Colorado and starts well behind most of the field, putting him in a difficult position from which to even qualify for the first two debate forums scheduled for late June and the end of July.

To earn a debate podium, all candidates must either tally at least one percent support in three Democratic National Committee designated polls, or attract financial support from 65,000 donors, from which they must have a minimum of 200 in at least 20 states. For the lesser known candidates, debate participation is a necessity in order to propel themselves into serious contention for the nomination.

Furthermore, Sen. Bennet doesn’t even have his home state electorate to himself. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is also in the race, a man who Bennet once served as chief of staff. Just two days ago, Colorado moved its new primary – they used to apportion delegates through the caucus system – to March 3, the 2020 campaign’s Super Tuesday, which could serve to boost one of the two Centennial State candidates. Yet, with both men in the race, the state’s 67 first-ballot delegate contingent will prove less of a base for either one.

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March 3, 2020: The New Super Tuesday

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2019 — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced this week, as expected, that his state’s new primary will move to March 3, 2020, which has clearly become the next presidential cycle’s Super Tuesday.

Previously, Colorado employed the caucus system to apportion delegates, but voters changed to a primary when passing a 2016 ballot initiative, so now the state’s 67 Democratic first-ballot delegates and 37 Republican convention votes will be apportioned through a primary election.

But the Centennial State voters and the Democratic National Committee rules appear to be at odds. According to news reports, the 2016 Colorado electoral primary ballot initiative not only transformed into a primary, but also adopted a winner-take-all apportionment format. While Republicans allow states to award all of their delegates to one candidate based upon a primary or caucus victory, the Democrats, under the McGovern reform rules adopted after the 1972 presidential election, do not.

While the state may want to make the winner-take-all option determinative, the procedure violates Democratic rules, so we could see yet another pre-convention issue develop before the Credentials Committee, the body that certifies all of the delegate votes prior to the convention officially beginning.

The 2020 Democratic nomination process is becoming seriously front-loaded, which could play to the party’s detriment. By rule, only four states, referred to as “The First Four,” may vote before March 1 in the presidential year: Iowa (caucus, 41 first-ballot delegates), New Hampshire (primary, 24), Nevada (caucus, 36), and South Carolina (primary, 54). But just three days after South Carolina concludes, the following Tuesday, March 3, could become the most significant date of the early campaign.

Now that Colorado has joined the 3/3 fold, the following states will vote (in parenthesis, are the number of first ballot votes each entity possesses under the Democratic delegate apportionment formula):

  • Alabama (52)
  • American Samoa (6) – presumed to be voting this day
  • Arkansas (31)
  • California (416)
  • Colorado (67)
  • Democrats Abroad (13)
  • Georgia (105)
  • Massachusetts (91)
  • Minnesota (75)
  • North Carolina (110)
  • Oklahoma (37)
  • Tennessee (64) – probable, but has not yet set the calendar
  • Texas (228)
  • Utah (29)
  • Vermont (16)
  • Virginia (99)

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