As political insiders know, these thoughtfully researched gems have historically been so inaccurate that they’re a kind of reverse guide to the actual results. As always, I encourage comments and predictions from readers — and I’d love to offer a magnum of Dom Perignon to the most prescient among them. Alas, my personal finances (see Dan Maes) foreclose such generous options, but I promise that the winner(s) will be duly acknowledged.
An easy call: it’s “Lucky John” Hickenlooper. Bill Ritter jumped ship early, Tom Tancredo got on too late, and “Drivin’ Dan the Law Enforcement Man” has no shot.
John Hickenlooper (D): 48%
Tom Tancredo (ACP): 44%
Dan Maes (R): 8%
That outcome would consign the GOP to “minor party” status in the next election, creating all kinds of procedural difficulties, especially for down-ticket candidates who might have to petition to get onto the ballot. “Oh Danny boy … the summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying.” Thanks a wilted bunch, Mr. Maes, Mr. McInnis and Mr. Tancredo.
Both Michael Bennet and Ken Buck are carrying a lot of baggage. Buck: crazy, anti-woman Tea Partier! Bennet: carpetbagging, deficit-loving Boulder uber-liberal! Both are being viciously caricatured by a host of anonymously funded 527 committees, not to mention by each other. If Buck loses, it’ll be thanks to some disquieting negatives that opponents have pounced upon during the last weeks of the campaign — the woman whose rapist he declined to prosecute, the shady gun dealer who avoided prosecution thanks to Buck’s tip-off of the defense attorneys, and his ill-considered remark about gays on national TV. Bennet hasn’t exactly covered himself with glory, either as a Senator or as a campaigner, but he may just prevail.
“Strong mayor” charter change
There’s really no reason to adopt a Denver-style government in Colorado Springs. And given that the effort is almost entirely funded by powerful local developers/businessmen, you’d expect it to go down. But these aren’t normal times. City residents are angry at government, and particularly irritated by the city’s apparent incompetence. A city government that cheerfully hands the USOC $33 million, asks for a tax increase during a severe recession, and economizes by turning off streetlights and letting parks go unmowed and unwatered is unlikely to win any popularity contests. Exasperated voters will support the initiative.
Amendments 60, 61, proposition 101
These measures, almost certainly the product of Douglas Bruce’s ever-fertile brain, have managed to unite major Colorado politicos as never before — in opposition. Opponents say that the three would create a “voter-approved recession” if approved. That’s why power players from the Colorado Education Association to the Denver Chamber of Commerce have joined together to fund a $6 million war chest to defeat the “ugly three.” Will it be enough? Maybe.
Amendment 60: No
Amendment 61: No, by a surprisingly narrow margin
Proposition 101: No
El Paso County Clerk and Recorder
This is one of these races that makes you yearn for non-partisan elections. Both Republican Wayne Williams and Democrat Tom Mowle are competent, reasonable men, but Mowle has no shot. He’s done a superb job as public trustee, and would be an obvious choice for the Clerk and Recorder position except for the scarlet “D” after his name. He’ll make it close, though.
Democrats currently hold three seats in the El Paso County legislative delegation. On Nov 3, that number may drop to zero.
HD 18: Republican Karen Cullen is opposing Democrat Pete Lee for the seat that term-limited Dem Mike Merrifield held for eight years. Cullen’s young, a small-business owner, a tireless campaigner and she’s Sallie Clark’s protégé. Lee, an attorney, is a capable guy and a longtime city resident. He could have won the seat in 2008, but not this year.
SD 11: Democratic majority leader John Morse has represented the Pikes Peak region with distinction during his four-year term. His opponent, political novice Owen Hill, is a work in progress. Too bad for Morse, it’s a Republican year.
HD 17: Incumbent Dennis Apuan stumbled into this seat two years ago, carried by the Democratic tide. He’ll stumble out on Nov 2, ousted by Republican Mark Barker.
Attorney General, Treasurer, Secretary of State
The three incumbents (A.G. John Suthers, Treasurer Cary Kennedy, and SOS Bernie Buescher) are outstanding public servants who deserve re-election. Suthers, the lone Republican, will make it, but Kennedy and Buescher are in trouble. My prediction: Republicans across the board.
Issue 1A: Dispense with dispensaries
Advice to stoners (oops, I mean patients): stock up. Conservatives can be prohibitionists, too. Prediction: Yes
Hazlehurst can be reached at email@example.com or 719-227-5861. Watch him at 7:45 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday on Channel 3, Fox Morning News