Tag Archives: Colorado

Stapleton In, Coffman Out
in Race for Colorado Governor

By Jim Ellis

April 18, 2018 — Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R), the wife of US Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), launched a campaign for governor in September, but her effort ended over the weekend when she failed to obtain a ballot position at the state convention.

Colorado state Treasurer Walker Stapleton

Colorado state Treasurer Walker Stapleton


Republican delegates from around the state gathered at the party Assembly to award ballot positioning. To qualify as a primary candidate in the Centennial State, an individual must receive at least 30 percent of the delegates’ votes. Or, one can secure petition signatures from 1,500 registered party members in each of the state’s seven congressional districts.

Short of funds at the end of the year when the signature gathering process began, Coffman decided only to access the ballot through convention support. Many candidates choose both avenues, using the signatures as political insurance in case they fall short at the convention. Though the sitting attorney general, Coffman received just six percent delegate support, meaning that she now has no way of participating in the gubernatorial primary. Because her own office is also on the ballot, AG Coffman now has no place to run.

At the other end of the spectrum, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a cousin of former President George W. Bush, also began to see his aspirations crumble before the convention but managed to rebound. While attempting to secure ballot access via petition, Stapleton discovered fraudulent signatures among those his contracted consulting firm gathered. He then took the unprecedented step of going to the Secretary of State and asking that all of his signatures be withdrawn. He then quickly entered the convention hoping to secure the 30 percent support factor just two days before the official conclave began.

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New Year House Preview

US-House-of-Representatives-balance-of-power-January-2018By Jim Ellis

Jan. 8, 2018 — Continuing our federal race outlook to set the political stage in this first week of the actual midterm election year, we now turn to the House races.

Republicans have a 24-seat margin (counting their three vacant seats that will go to special election in the early part of this year: PA-18, AZ-8, and OH-12), and though Democrats and most in the media claim that a new majority is just around the corner, a race-by-race House analysis shows that the road to converting the majority remains difficult to attain. This is so for several key reasons, not the least of which is the typical House incumbent retention factor. In 2016 the rate hit 97 percent (377 victories for the 389 House members who ran for re-election).

Additionally, even though President Trump’s job approval rating is historically low, we must remember that he won the 2016 national election with a personal approval index no higher than his present positive to negative ratios. And, even though congressional approval was well below 20 percent for the entire 2016 election year, Republicans lost only six House seats from their previous modern era record majority of 247 that was attained in the 2014 election.

When we have seen major seat changes occur in past elections, the winning party has done well in converting open seats. For the fourth election cycle in a row, the 2018 House cycle features an above average quantity of incumbent-less US House campaigns – the current number is 45, counting the two latest announced retirees, Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Gregg Harper (R-MS).

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A Not So Open Seat

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 22, 2017 — Currently, we see a low number of open US House seats during this 2018 election cycle, and the number is about to get even smaller. Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) is expected to announce that he has changed political course once again and now will seek re-election.

In April, the six-term congressman announced his candidacy for governor, only to withdraw two months later. At the time when ending his statewide bid, Perlmutter confirmed that he would not be seeking re-election to a seventh term in the House. Believing the 7th District, a likely Democratic seat, would be open in 2018, three state legislators and a former US Ambassador jumped into the party primary.

At the very least, each of the three legislators has previously indicated that they would end their congressional campaigns and defer to the returning incumbent should he decide to return. Therefore, it is likely Perlmutter’s re-entry into the congressional race will not spur a competitive primary campaign.

Assuming this predicted new course of action proves true, the number of open regular cycle House seats will temporarily drop to 20. At this point in time, the total open seat universe is half of what it was in the last two election cycles, and less than one-third the high water number of 64 we saw in 2012.

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GOP Could Cancel Colorado Primary

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 9, 2017 — Local Centennial State news reports indicate that a Colorado Republican Central Committee vote will transpire in late September about whether to cancel the 2018 party primary.

The vote would have a significant effect upon not only the governor’s nomination campaign, but also the budding 5th Congressional District challenge to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), and choosing a party nominee for the potentially competitive open 7th CD (Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter retiring).

In lieu of the party primary, the Colorado Republicans would return to their previous system of holding closed party conventions to choose their nominees. The convention system is currently in use, but can only officially endorse candidates, and not nominate them as in years past. Some GOP committee members offer the argument that the Colorado open primary will allow non-Republicans to influence the primary to the degree that a non-representative GOP candidate wins certain office nominations, thus dooming the party to defeat in the succeeding general election.

The move is in response to the voting public approving Proposition 108 in the 2016 election that allows the state’s non-affiliated voters, some 1.4 million individuals, to vote in the primary of their choice. Registered party members are limited to participate only in the party primary to which they are officially affiliated. Both parameters are common procedures in modified primary states. The new election law allows the party central committees to opt out of holding a primary, but only if 75 percent of the voting committee members choose to do so.

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A New Republican Governor

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 7, 2017 — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice made national news the other night at President Trump’s rally in Huntington, WV, when the Democratic state chief executive took the stage to announce that he is switching to the Republican Party.

When addressing the Trump rally, Justice said, “like it or not, but the Democrats walked away from me … West Virginia, I can’t help you anymore by being a Democratic governor.”

The move now gives Republicans control of the entire West Virginia governmental apparatus, owning both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s office. Factoring Justice’s party change, the GOP holds the West Virginia chief executive post for the first time since Gov. Arch Moore (R) was defeated for re-election in 1988. There are now 26 states where Republicans control the legislature and governor’s office, including Nebraska where the legislature only has one ostensibly non-partisan legislative chamber but is clearly overwhelmingly Republican. In contrast, Democrats have full power in only five states.

The development means the Democrats drop to holding just 15 governors, an all-time low number for the party. Republicans, on the other hand, reach their historical apex with 34 governors as party members. The 50th governor, Bill Walker of Alaska, is an Independent.

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One In, One Out

By Jim Ellis

July 13, 2017 — Two major announcements occurred during the last few days resulted in one individual becoming an official statewide candidate and another withdrawing from a campaign that had already begun.

West Virginia Senate

As had been expected for some time, two-term West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) announced his campaign for the United States Senate. He will face two-term Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington) in the Republican primary, with the winner drawing a difficult political match with Sen. Joe Manchin (D).

With average win percentages of 62 percent over two elections as governor (2004, ’08) in addition to a pair of Senate campaigns (2010 special election; 2012), Sen. Manchin appears to be in strong shape as he approaches his 2018 re-election. But, there are some cracks in his armor, hence the presence of two strong GOP opponents.

Though Sen. Manchin has attempted to cross the partisan line in his public relationship with President Trump and the Republican leadership on several issues, it is still a net negative for the senator to campaign on the same political landscape that proved to be the former’s second strongest state (69 percent).

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Big Governor News

By Jim Ellis

July 12, 2017 — A major announcement was made in a western state governor’s race Monday, with an additional one from an adjacent domain coming later today. Both affect corresponding US House seats.

New Mexico Governor; NM-2

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) announced that he will enter the open New Mexico governor’s race next year, saying to the Albuquerque Journal that he’s “concerned about an exodus of young people leaving New Mexico,” going to other places for a more favorable job market. Pearce said his campaign will emphasize improving education, spurring economic growth, and reducing crime and poverty.

This will be the second time Pearce has left his House seat to pursue a statewide contest. In 2008, when serving his third term in Congress, he decided to challenge then-Rep. Heather Wilson (R-Albuquerque) for the US Senate nomination, and successfully upset her in the Republican primary. He would then go onto lose the general election to then-Rep. Tom Udall (D-Santa Fe), 61-39 percent, in the Obama landslide year.

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