TRAIL MIX | Yes, Colorado, there is a parallel to Virginia | Chroniclers

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If Halloween had arrived a week later this year, there’s a good chance a number of Colorado Republicans running for the U.S. Senate primary dressed up as Glenn Youngkin, the Republican who won the race. governor of Virginia on November 2.

The battle to define the 2022 election has been going on for some time, but the lines have become much clearer this week.

The stakes are high.

Democrats will try to prove that the last three general elections were no fluke and that the state leaned to the left rather than primarily demonstrate how much state voters dislike Donald Trump.

Republicans, meanwhile, will try to revive the powerless GOP and demonstrate that Colorado’s recent status as a battleground has not been lost to history.

Nowhere will the tension between the two parties play as much as in the race for the seat of the United States Senate held by Democrat Michael Bennet, who is already Colorado’s longest-serving senator in the past 50 years and is bidding to become the first. state senator elected for a third term since the mid-1960s.

While the race has so far not garnered much attention outside Colorado’s borders, the results of a 1,500-mile election this week have prompted a top election forecaster to slash Democrats’ chances of s ‘hang at the seat of the State Senate.

Investigating the consequences of Youngkin’s victory in Virginia on Terry McAuliffe, former governor and this year’s Democratic candidate for the Commonwealth of Nations, Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman, the crystal ball seers of Sabato changed 2022 scores for four Senate seats held by Democrats, moving Arizona, Georgia and Nevada from Leans Democratic to Toss-Up and Colorado from Safe Democratic to Likely Democratic.

The change doesn’t mean Bennet is still not favored, forecasters have made it clear, but electoral fault lines revealed in the November election mean the Colorado Democrat’s reelection bid may not be the sure thing she had prepared herself for. to be.

Loading the caveats – with a year left until mid-term, President Joe Biden’s lackluster approval rating could rebound, and former President Donald Trump could reassert himself and remind suburban voters why they walked away of the GOP in recent years – the Crystal Ball writers described Bennet’s position: “He could potentially be vulnerable if 2022 turns into a GOP mega-wave.” “

Kondik and Coleman said the Virginia election – including Republicans’ gains in other statewide offices and in the legislature – answered a few questions about the electorate that have persisted since Trump did it’s more on the ballot or in the White House.

Would conservative voters still run without Trump to motivate them? Can Republicans woo suburban voters while maintaining strength among rural voters? Are the traditional Virginia election rules still valid? (For decades, the party that won the White House the year before has almost always lost the race for governor of the state.)

“Unfortunately for Democrats, and fortunately for Republicans, the answers to all of these questions have been a resounding ‘yes’,” concluded the Crystal Ballers.

And that heralds a tougher year for Democrats, however you cut it.

At this point, it’s unclear how next year’s Colorado election will look like the 2010 election, the last time a White House Democrat – Barack Obama – presided over his first half-term. mandate.

That year, Colorado voters punished Democrats top-to-bottom for the ballot, angry that the economy was slow to recover from downturns under the previous Republican president. Conservatives and Republicans alike were pissed off by the Tea Party, a loosely organized populist group that championed wealthy interests in the same way the MAGA mob stirs up GOP-leaning voters these days.

But even as Colorado voters swung to the right at the polls that year, giving Republicans a slim majority in the Colorado House of Representatives, they elected Bennet for his first full term against Republican nominee Ken Buck by the skin of his teeth and handed the governor over to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who joined Bennet as junior state senator after last year’s election.

It is one thing to establish that Bennet is more vulnerable than has been assumed. It’s another thing, however, to argue that one of his potential GOP opponents can overthrow the incumbent.

Eight Republicans are in contention for the nomination, although it is still early in the race and none have so far emerged as a frontrunner.

The morning after Youngkin was declared the winner in Virginia, the campaigns of several of Bennet’s Republican challengers argued that their candidate embodies that Youngkin’s allure and can replicate his feat.

The similarities between Colorado and Virginia are impossible to ignore.

The two states have a similar mix of suburban and rural populations, both were once of reliable Republican leanings and have firmly leaned towards Democrats since Obama was elected in 2008. With well-educated electorates, both have clues. nearly identical Cook Political Report supporters – D + 2 in Virginia, D + 3 in Colorado – and both hovered for Biden in double digits last year, although Colorado hovered a little harder than the Virginia. According to a recent poll, Biden is underwater with voters in both states with identical margins.

Against this backdrop, campaign advisers to three of Bennet’s challengers – Eli Bremer, Gino Campana and Joe O’Dea – circulated internal memos and issued statements presenting their candidate as the only true heir to Youngkin’s mantle.

Youngkin’s message, according to a memo drafted by the Bremer Campaign, “was reinforced by the fact that he came up against a well-established career politician who was unable to offer a creative, different approach or perspective. or fresh. ”Youngkins’ status as a foreign businessman was crucial to his credibility and appeal.

“In Colorado, Eli Bremer has a similar message. As a businessman, first-time candidate and Olympian, Bremer is memorable and clearly not a typical candidate. Like Youngkin, he is also running against the political insider. with vanilla consumed in Michael Bennet. “

Campana, according to a note sent on November 3 to its finance committee, “had the opportunity to live the American dream thanks to the compassion of an American soldier in 1943 who legally sponsored his father’s immigration to the United States. United since the war. torn city of Naples, Italy. Now Gino is ready to fight to give every American family the chance to live the same dream ….

“Gino is not a politician. He is a father, trainer, builder, entrepreneur and first generation American who wants to stop Sen. Michael Bennet and Joe Biden from destroying our country. Appointed by President Trump, Gino has earned the president’s confidence and demonstrated his strong conservative credentials. “

O’Dea’s campaign said in a statement, “Virginia’s verdict is a clear appeal to Republicans in Colorado – if we name a capable leader and a happy Conservative warrior, we can unite Republicans and appeal to those who are simply looking for a reduction in inflation, debt and national spending and a return to normalcy. Joe O’Dea is the son of a cop, a concrete guy, a fighter – Biden’s shopping boy, Michael Bennet, doesn’t want any part of this guy.

Bennet’s campaign manager Justin Lamorte said the forecaster’s rating change only confirms what the Democrat’s campaign has said from the start, that Colorado is not a solid Democratic seat and that Bennet will work. in a difficult climate.

“In Colorado, we’re always ready for a close election, and Michael won in 2010 when he faced strong headwinds halfway through,” said Lamorte.

“This is why Michael’s campaign is off to a good start, and he continues his delivery record for the Coloradans, including passing the Expanded Child Tax Credit to lower taxes for low- and middle-income families. Looking ahead, Michael is working hard to push through legislation that will lower healthcare and childcare costs, and tackle climate change with investments in clean energy and outdoor catering that will create jobs and will strengthen our economy. ”

Even as the calendar shifts to other holidays and the New Year, if GOP candidates sometimes begin to refer to Colorado as “the Commonwealth”, it is quite possible that they have their Youngkin costume in mind.


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