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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

CO 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Colorado: Last week we looked at some names of potential Democratic candidates for governor. Today, the AP looks at the initial movement in the Republican primary:

University of Denver President Marc Holtzman has announced plans to run for Colorado governor next year.

Holtzman, a 45-year-old Republican, was appointed by GOP Gov. Bill Owens to oversee the state's technology development efforts in 1999, later leaving to take the university job in May 2003. He has never held elected office.[...]

Other Republicans considering joining the race include state Treasurer Mike Coffman, U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez and former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis.

Posted at 06:55 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Colorado | Technorati


Beauprez is in, and instantly becomes the frontrunner in the race. What does this mean?

Once considered a very winnable race for Dems, likely with Rep. Mark Udall as our candidate, now we're in the position of simply hoping that Denver Mayor John Hickenloper makes a run at the Governor's mansion. If not, we will not have a top tier candidate in a race against a tough Republican opponent. To make matters worse, Colorado Dems just ousted the party chair, Chris Gates, who by any reasonable standard had been very successful at his position (DFA-ers felt slighted by his apparent bias toward Ken Salazar and against their guy, Superintendent Mike Miles.) Ironically, since incoming chair Pat Waak campaigned on a platform of inclusiveness and open primaries, a key question in this race will be whether the Dem party can avoid a messy primary and the waste of resources that implies; the unorganized Republicans will likely have at least a 2-man race.

But apart from the Gov race, this opens up another interesting detail: Beauprez' district, CO-7 is an evenly split district, and will now be an open seat. If John Salazar's defense of CO-3 is the most important race of it's kind for the Dems in '06, CO-7 might be the biggest race of any kind. Add to that a tough gubernatorial fight, an anti-gay marriage initiative that will recieve national attention thanks to Focus on the Family's James Dobson alog with a possible Dem-backed counter-measure, the perennial option of going after gay-bashing nut-job Marilyn Musgrave in CO-4 (she won in '04 with 51%), and most importantly the defense of the state House and Senate which in turn provides Colorado Dems with the capacity to write legislature demonstrating the values of Western Democrats--hugely important for our national party's near future.

Some may feel that Pennsylvania should be the top destination for activists and dollars in the 2006 campaign cycle, or perhaps Rhode Island. I disagree. The Colorado Democratic party has fundraisers and is a proven winner, but it has a long list of important tasks to accomplish and resources will inevitably be divided. Plus, the gay marraige initiative will ensure higher Republican turnout across the board.

In other words, they're going to need our help. Even without a Senate race, there will be no more exciting place to be in the Summer of '06 than Colorado.

Posted by: Andy Albertson [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2005 09:51 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment