In Colorado’s heated U.S. Senate primaries, Ken Buck edged Jane Norton for the Republican nomination–but Norton still had more votes overall than Sen. Michael Bennet did in his bid to gain the Democratic nomination. Republicans enjoyed a 60,000+ voter advantage in their primary, stoked partially by the addition of a wild gubernatorial race, but also buoyed by strong trends favoring Tea Party activists, reinvigorated Republican rank-and-file voters, and the mounting backlash against Washington DC, encroaching government, and the party in power.
GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams sees that advantage continuing in the general election, and told Battle ‘10 the numbers are decisive. “There are two hard facts that demonstrate the advantage we have at this point: Republicans outnumber Democrats among active voters 862,000 to 800,000 and similarly we outnumber the other side among permanent absentee voters 544,000 to 500,000.”
Colorado’s voters have selected permanent mail-in voter (PMIV) status to the tune of 60 percent statewide–meaning the vast majority of those voters that will turn out in the 2010 midterm election already have their ballots. In many counties, including battleground areas like Jefferson and Arapahoe counties, the PMIV exceeds 70 percent.
Wadhams believes that the numbers combined with a focus on key issues, supports his optimistic outlook for November 2. “Democrats are not motivated as they were in 2008,” Wadhams said. “And then throw in the fact unaffiliated voters have rejected the core Obama-Democratic agenda, especially the failed stimulus bill and the health care “reform” monstrosity.”
If unaffiliated voters–the state’s largest voting bloc in overall registration (active and inactive voters)–break for Republicans, Democrats will have a long night, given the structural disadvantages apparent in the numbers cited by Wadhams. If the unaffiliated voters break by significant margins to Republican candidates, then the gains made in the past three cycles by Democrats on both the state and Federal levels could nearly be erased overnight.