The Campaign Spot

Perhaps Last Night Will Be Hickenlooper’s Second-Toughest Night of 2014

From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Tough Night, Colorado. Tough Night.

Cue a million Colorado-legalizes-marijuana-and-the-Denver-Broncos-lose-the-Super-Bowl-in-a-rout jokes.

Everybody’s telling those jokes this morning. You know what they’re not telling you?

A guy named Harry Hempy is running for governor of Colorado this year. As a member of the Green Party.

So how many votes does he get just for the “Dude, I’m voting for Hemp-y!” factor?

The incumbent is Democrat John Hickenlooper.

The crowded Republican field includes state Senator Greg Brophy, Secretary of State Scott E. Gessler, Steve House, former state senator Mike Kopp, Jim Rundberg, and former congressman Tom Tancredo.

Here’s what PPP found at the end of 2013 — feel free to take these results with enough salt to melt any snow on the ground in your area — but the general sense that Hickenlooper and Udall are vulnerable Democratic incumbents in a purple state, up against the right GOP opponent, seems accurate:

Voters are pretty split in their opinions about Hickenlooper with 45% approving of him to 48% who disapprove. But in a head to head match up with Tancredo he still leads by 8 points at 48/40. He has similar margins against Mike Kopp (45/37) and Scott Gessler (47/40). The Republican who comes closest, despite having minimal name recognition, is actually Greg Brophy at 44/43.

We’re seeing a similar story in the Colorado Senate race. Ken Buck proved to be a very poor candidate against Michael Bennet in 2010 and lost a contest Republicans were generally expected to win all year long. And now GOP voters are ready to run him again — 45% say he’s their choice for Senate candidate to just 8% for Randy Baumgardner, 7% for Amy Stephens, and 2% or less for the others.

Voters have mixed feelings about Mark Udall — 40% approve of him and 41% disapprove. But thanks to the weak field opposing him he still leads by anywhere from 4 to 7 points against his potential Republican foes. It’s 46/42 over Buck, 47/40 over Baumgardner, and 44/37 over both Hill and Stephens.

Well, it’s not like the governor tried to tie himself to the Broncos in their suddenly interrupted magical year . . . 

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking Super Bowl hoopla to new heights.

He announced Wednesday he’s temporarily renaming Colorado’s highest mountains for each member of the Denver Broncos. The state is home to more than 50 mountains over 14,000 feet, called “14-ers” by locals.

Finally, your tax dollars at work, Coloradans:

Two high-profile fans will be in the crowd watching the Super Bowl this Sunday — Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, The Denver Post reports. Hickenlooper is paying for the trip east with his son, Teddy, while two staffers [his chief of staff and senior media adviser] will have their airfare covered by the state.

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