Governor Hickenlooper has been the recipient of a hard-hitting, professional attack ad campaign by Republicans just once in his political career. Once. And then Dan Maes took the GOP nomination and every outside player fled the state.
With Hickenlooper taking a 20-point hit in favorability in the latest PPP poll, it’s instructive to look back at that brief moment of political peril for the governor for what it says about his ability to take a political punch.
The assault by the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) in early May 2010 focused heavily on his raising taxes as Denver Mayor and the job losses at Frontier Airlines that happened as a result, and tied him to unpopular one-term Governor Ritter.
The smartly produced, memorable spot had a little over half a million behind it over a one-month period — a not insignificant, nor exceptionally huge, budget.
As a result, Hickenlooper’s numbers went into freefall.
Less than two weeks after the assault on the airwaves began, a PPP poll found Hick had gone from an 11-point lead over Scott McInnis in the previous PPP poll to being tied.
It was a crushing blow that reshaped the race dramatically.
Unfortunately, soon thereafter everything fell apart. The plagiarism scandal consumed McInnis’s campaign and paved the way for the most disastrous major party nomination in modern history in Dan Maes.
But it’s that ever-so-brief moment that makes some wonder whether Hickenlooper is as politically invincible as conventional wisdom would suggest.
The second sustained assault Hickenlooper has faced from Republicans in his career, though with virtually no paid media, was over gun control.
And just like after the RGA attack, Hickenlooper’s polling numbers plummeted like a cartoon anvil.
Two assaults, two big poll hits.
Does Governor Hickenlooper have a glass jaw?