Just over three years after Democrats selected Denver for its Democratic National Convention in 2008 based on the centrality of the West and Colorado in particular to Democratic gains at the state and national levels, as DNC Chair Howard Dean said in January 2007:
“There is no question that the West is important to the future of the Democratic Party,” Dean said. “The recent Democratic gains in the West exemplify the principle that when we show up and ask for people’s votes and talk about what we stand for, we can win in any part of the country. Additionally, we have a number of strong Democratic leaders in the West who will be a part of showcasing the vision of Democratic leadership for America as we introduce the next Democratic President in the Rocky Mountains.”
President Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination in August 2008 during the convention, but returned in late October to hold a pre-election rally that drew 100,000 people to Denver.
So what are Obama’s plans for Denver or Colorado this year, with a contested seat in the U.S. Senate and three House districts reasonably up for grabs?
Colorado didn’t make the initial cut of selected battleground states:
The president has scheduled at least four stops: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Nevada. All are home to House and Senate races that could determine control of those chambers, in addition to gubernatorial contests.
The events, orchestrated under the banner of “Moving America Forward,” are billed as an effort by Obama to “rally the troops and talk to Americans about what’s at stake in the outcome of the midterm elections.”
Though Colorado’s Democratic delegation–consisting of Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. John Salazar (CO-3), Rep. Betsy Markey (CO-4), and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-7)–have proven reliable in supporting much of President Obama’s agenda, at least three of the four have also broken with him in recent weeks.
Bennet, Salazar, and Markey have opposed Obama’s proposed infrastructure stimulus, and Bennet has gone to great lengths to distance himself rhetorically even as liberal commentators admitted the appointed Senator was “nurtured” by the administration. Obama, after all, played a heavy role in endorsing and supporting Bennet over his primary rival Andrew Romanoff.