The headline isn’t quite accurate because Colorado was never really red. Our politics have always tended towards hardcore conservative Republicans and deeply weird (Richard Lamm, Gary Hart) Democrats. And the occasional outlier, too — Colorado voters went for Ross Perot by a bigger margin than any other state. Twice. But the GOP has been in Circular Firing Squad Mode for nearly a decade, and our state Democrats have undergone a major shift to the left. So with all that in mind, read this RCP report on our off-year election:
The election will also be a test of lessons learned by the party, locally and nationally. The GOP was dealt a blow in Colorado four years ago by Ken Buck, whose series of incendiary gaffes cost the party a Senate seat in one of the most favorable climates for a pickup. Republicans believe they have avoided that risk this year with Cory Gardner, a young and charismatic congressman from the conservative 4th Congressional District whose entrance into the race cleared the GOP field.
There’s a lot riding on him. While Republicans don’t necessarily have to win Colorado to take control of the U.S. Senate, a victory there is viewed as integral to the party’s hopes in 2016.
Wadhams said that if Republicans don’t win the Senate seat, or at least the gubernatorial race, “in a year like this, with a tired, beleaguered incumbent, when the issues are with us … my question is — and I’ve lived in Colorado all my life — when are we going to be able to win again?”
Good question. I might have an answer for you in November.