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Election eve “red tsunami” spares Colorado

Wed, Nov 3, 2010

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The red tsunami that swept the midwest apparently dissipated when it hit Colorado. Despite knocking off a couple of Congressional incumbents, Republican gains in our fair state were nothing like those the Gopsters expected, and the Democrats feared.

Some observations:

-A lot of folks wondered whether Michael Bennet had the moxie to fight off an all-out Republican blitz. He did – or, more accurately, his shadowy 527s were more than equal to Ken Buck’s shadowy 527s. The Bennet forces managed to demonize Ken Buck successfully enough to prevail. It was by far the nastiest campaign in the state’s modern history – that is, since candidates stopped bribing newspaper editors, having fistfights, and challenging each other to duels.

-”Lucky John” Hickenlooper seems to be guided by the same stars that once propelled Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton to the Presidency. He won an election that, had Scott McInnis passed on plagiarism, he would have lost. Moreover, he won it with an entirely positive campaign. And not only that, the Dems may have miraculously retained control of both houses of the state legislature, allowing the Hickster to govern without continually placating unruly and uncooperative Republicans. Come 2016, we might just see a Hick in the White House.

-The strong mayor charter change, which passed overwhelmingly, is a game changer. You may think that the elections are over…too bad! The new election season starts today. At Nosh last night, hanging out with the strong mayor folks, tried to get some inkling of who the favored candidate for Mayor might be. If there is one, they wouldn’t say.

“This was really an intellectual exercise as much as anything,” said longtime resident/developer/successful guy Fred Veitch.”It creates a structure that will help the city succeed – it’s not designed for any particular person.”

-We know one person who most likely won’t run for Mayor- County Commissioner Sallie Clark. She put her political credibility on the line with her all-out support of Karen Cullen, the Republican candidate for HD18. Cullen was trounced by Democrat Pete Lee in a race that wasn’t even close. Don’t waste any tears on Clark, though – thanks to voter approval of extended term limits, she can run for yet another term on the County Commission, and collect close to $100k annually in the most lucrative job in Colorado politics.

-Biggest loser? Without question, state GOP boss Dick Wadhams. Unless he’s secretly an ultra-liberal Democrat on the payroll of George Soros, his performance has to be the worst of any state GOP chair. Having presided over the 2008 disaster, Wadhams doubled down this year. It took some doing to orchestrate the twin debacles of Ken Buck and Dan Maes, but Wadhams was equal to the task! His only success: Maes apparently garnered more than 10 percent of the vote, so the GOP won’t be officially consigned to minority party status.

-Biggest winner? Bennet, if his slim margin holds. He’s proven that he can win one of the roughest political fights that any candidate has ever endured, and he has six years to prove himself in the Senate. Anyone who has spent time with him knows that he’s the smartest guy in the room. Add tough, proven politician to his resume, and we may well see him leading the Senate in years to come – and, we hope, bringing home that good old Ted Stevens pork to Colorado.

-Biggest surprise? Overwhelming approval of relaxed term limits for County elected officials, no doubt propelled by the deliberately deceptive wording of the referred measure. Most voters assumed that they were opting to institute term limits where none existed, rather than agreeing to weaken existing law.

- Person whose job is suddenly distasteful: President Obama. Whatever you’ve been doing, it’s not working. Time to cut deals, govern from the center, and step up your game. Ask Bill Clinton…

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