Politics & Policy

CO Friday Morning Mega-Roundup

“Shadowy groups” dominating Colorado politics?

Shadowy out-of-state interest groups have been flooding Colorado with a level of advertising that goes well beyond the typical election year bombardment. Colorado has become such an attractive destination for outside political money this year because of the state’s bellwether status, its many competitive races and its relatively cheap media rates.

The real election begins on October 12, when mail-in ballots are distributed to the more than 60 percent of Colorado voters who have permanent mail-in voter status, part of a national trend towards earlier voting:

Walt Klein, general consultant to Republican Ken Buck’s Senate campaign says, “…you have to do heavier television and radio advertising, sooner.

“We used to say you’d start your heaviest week, would be the week before the election, before Election day and then you’d work your way back. Now, you start your heaviest week the week before absentee ballots are mailed in early October or mid-October.” Klein describes it as a revolving, 3 1/2 week election period, candidates want to keep peaking, because “…voters have a much wider opportunity, in terms of number of days, to decide when they want to drop their ballots.”

The effort to lock in votes early is literally known in the business as “chasing ballots”. Klein says a great deal of effort goes to “…encourage voters you think are on your side, to request an absentee ballot” and “to try to get people to return those ballots as soon as…feasible after they get them.”

•Time for Colorado to level the playing field for all parties?

•Large Channel 7 TV ad fact check.

•A raft of yard sign shenanigans in the tony liberal mountain enclave of Aspen target Republican candidates.

U.S. Senate

Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign hopes the ultimate wedge issue–abortion–can salvage his appointed Senate seat in Colorado:

The Democratic strategy is at least drawing the attention of voters. But it comes with a risk, too: Does selling the idea that Republican fiscal warriors are social zealots in disguise send a shiver of fear down voters’ spines, or make Democrats look like they are avoiding the subject on most voters’ minds? […]

In the bruising race for a Senate seat here in Colorado, one ad features a Denver obstetrician in her scrubs, saying women will lose control of their bodies if Ken Buck, the Republican nominee, wins. Another, from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, says privacy is at stake with a Buck victory over SenatorMichael Bennet, a Democrat.

The Buck campaign has said the attacks are simply an attempt to change the subject.

•Nevada Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle mentions Ken Buck in a tape, and the Bennet campaign eagerly pounces on the connection.

•The Denver Post’s Chuck Plunkett critiques Bennet’s “hypocritical strategy.”

•The “secret donors” behind ad buys targeting Bennet.

•Bennet attack ads prompt clarifications from Buck on tax reforms.

•Bennet makes a few unscheduled campaign appearances around Durango following an editorial board meeting with the Durango Herald.

•Bevy of truth tests from 9NEWS: Buck on Social Security, Buck on national sales tax, Bennet on health care reform, Bennet on Medicare

House

CO-3

•Rep. John Salazar’s “slam dunk” has turned into a “nail-biter” in his bid to win reelection in CO-3, as well as the rematch with 2006 foe, Scott Tipton.

•With the race in CO-4 widely expected to turn in favor of Republicans, many believe that it is now CO-3, and seats like it, that will help determine not only the control of the House, but the magnitude of the Republican wave.

•Salazar’s seat is now part of a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s last-ditch “firewall”:

This week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running ads in seats held by Reps. Bill Delahunt (Mass.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Phil Hare (Ill.), Bill Foster (Ill.),Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), and John Salazar (Colo.). In each district, Democrats won re-election by significant, if not overwhelming, margins in 2008. Now, Democrats view every one of those seats as endangered. […]

Democrats are endeavoring, in essence, to find the edge of the Republican wave and begin fighting back. By defending members who are least at risk, the theory goes, they can put those races away early, leaving them free to concentrate their fire on Republican candidates more likely to win Democratic seats. […]

In Colorado, Republicans now consider Salazar a bigger priority than Markey. Markey’s race is already in the bag, the GOP believes; Salazar’s could determine who wields the majority. As the GOP keeps broadening its range, the Democrats’ choice of where to focus their defense could determine just how large either side’s majority actually becomes. [emphasis added]

CO-4

Former GOP elected officials back Cory Gardner, including two former Senators (Hank Brown and Wayne Allard) and the previous two Republican members from the district, Bob Schaffer and Marilyn Musgrave.

•Rep. Betsy Markey’s office is apparently not particularly interested in assisting with the recent shooting near the Mexican border that took the life of a man from the 4th district, according to the Liberty Ink Journal.

•Markey bolted from another scheduled debate with Gardner, leaving the Republican to “debate” an empty chair on the local public television channel.

•Poll numbers give temporary boost to Markey, who hopes that the race is tightening in her favor.

Governor

•Tom Tancredo details the Tuesday meeting with Dan Maes outside of Denver that did not result in the embattled Maes withdrawing from the gubernatorial race.

•Maes lost one more prominent Republican backer.

PPP poll has Tancredo at 33 percent, Maes at 13 percent, and John Hickenlooper leading both with 47 percent–but despite some positive news for Hickenlooper on favorables and support from independents, PPP believes that Tancredo still has a chance, bolstered by Republican consolidation in his favor and a stagnating Democratic opponent in Hickenlooper.

•Channel 7′s gubernatorial debate wrap-up, and the station’s fact check on the candidates’ answers.

Latino vote lagging, despite the illegal immigration flare-up in Arizona:

As conservatives across the country seek to burnish their tough-on-immigration credentials, Mr. Arpaio’s endorsement is much sought after. “Every day I get calls from candidates,” the sheriff said recently, acknowledging that he draws protesters, too.

“Tomorrow, I’m going up to Colorado to help out Tancredo; I helped that gal in Nevada, Angle,” Mr. Arpaio said, referring to former Representative Tom Tancredo, who is running for governor in Colorado as an independent, and Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate nominee in Nevada. “I’m a poster boy on this issue.”

•9NEWS fact checks a Tancredo ad targeting Hickenlooper.

•Hickenlooper does not want to upset the union vote, so he will not rescind a controversial executive order issued by the current Democratic governor, Bill Ritter:

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper indicated Monday that, if governor of Colorado, he would continue with Gov. Bill Ritter’s controversial executive order that gave state workers – and unions – more say in running the state of Colorado.

During a gubernatorial candidate forum, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said if he were to “rescind it immediately,” organized labor groups ”would be outraged.”

•Colorado’s gubernatorial race is “one that got away” according to political analyst Larry Sabato.

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