Tonight, we at Colorado Peak Politics will be covering the big races across Colorado, with election results to be published on these pages and our Facebook page as soon as they start rolling in at 7 pm. Below is a list of the results and story lines we will be watching for and reporting on.
1. Prop 103: The Big Kahuna. A job-killing $3 billion tax increase, it is the only statewide ballot initiative and the only proposed statewide tax increase in the nation. Supporters of the tax increase have raised $600,000 for their effort, far outstripping the amount raised by opponents, who have stuck primarily to a low-key, grassroots campaign. This race will set the narrative for the night and is likely to be watched around the country for insight into the Colorado electorate only a year before Obama's re-election.
2. Denver school board: The Battle Of The Titans. This race is truly a matchup between Good and Evil with a slate of reform-minded candidates up against the far left teacher's union hacks. While the left-wing has tried to drive this race national by spitting conspiracy theories on MSNBC, the race is more about whether DPS goes in the direction of improvement or sticks with stagnation.
Here is Emily Sirota waxing crazy on MSNBC:
3. Aurora Mayor: The biggest non-school board race in the state. The race has two strong Republican candidates in Ryan Frazier and Jude Sandvall, a newly-crowned Ed Perlmutter pal in Steve Hogan, and a smattering of other folks that won't really affect the race much. With an expected fight between Aurora and Denver over the Western Stock Show and a proposed billion-dollar Gaylord Entertainment complex the next Mayor will have some big fights on their hands. The big question going into election day is, will Ryan Frazier’s positive name ID and risky choice to run a generally positive campaign withstand a tidal wave of negative advertising from Steve Hogan, Ed Perlmutter and the Unions?
Here is Ryan Frazier’s ad:
And Steve Hogan’s Ed Perlmutter carbon copy ad:
4. Douglas County. The question here is can a conservative school board and a tax increase for a pay for performance teacher compensation program pass on the same night? The Dougco school board has made national news as of late in their quest for a voucher program, in addition to accolades they've received on the national level for their other reform efforts. That makes the race matter, as it will be seen as a referendum on the current board's efforts. The DougCo mill levy override vote will give some indication into Douglas voters' thoughts on tax increases and whether there is any legitimate justification for any in this economic climate.
5. Jefferson County school board: This is probably the second most highly contested school board election in the state. As the largest school district in Colorado, at an annual budget of over $1 Billion, there is much at stake. The race pits two GOP-backed candidates Preston Branaugh and Jim Powers ("The Dads") up against two teacher's union stooges with significant backing from the education establishment and high profile liberal law firms.
6. Mill Levy Overrides: There are a number of tax increases for local school districts in the form of mill levy overrides on the ballot, from Douglas to Mesa to Loveland. The big question to be answered is will Rollie Heath's tax hike jihad create an undertow that sinks local school district tax hikes too?