Remember Ref C? Jane Norton does. Bob Beauprez does. What about Ref A? John Salazar thanks his lucky stars for the ballot initiative — he never would have been elected without his opponent's support of it. In fact, 2004's Ref A became a defining issue for races on the West Slope for three election cycles straight. All of this is to say ballot measures don't die only at the ballot box. They can continue to haunt supporters or opponents for years after Election Day.
As much as the liberal establishment in Colorado hopes that the lessons and results from Prop 103 die a quick death, never to be heard from again, they are hoping against historical trends. As the measure found failure in every corner of Colorado there is no upside for supporters of the proposed $3 Billion tax hike.
On the legislative level, that is bad news for state Senators like Evie Hudak, who has been hit with $60,000 in ads already over her Prop 103 support, as well as Linda Newell, who will also face a tough general election in 2012.
Newell barely squeaked out a victory in 2008, in a banner year for Democrats. While she tried her hardest to hide her support for Prop 103, in a bit of bare knuckle politics Save Colorado Jobs' Victor Mitchell got her on the record in support of the measure during a Prop 103 debate.
You can guarantee her opponents will beat her over the head with her love of tax hikes in a recession come next October.
“Liberal Senators Evie Hudak and Brandon Shaffer are wearing their support of Prop 103 like a badge of honor despite the economic ruin it would’ve caused,” said Tyler Q. Houlton, president of Compass Colorado. “But the resounding rejection of Prop 103 has made it a political scarlet letter on any politician that supported it. Hudak and Shaffer will hope Coloradans forget their steadfast support of this $2.9 billion tax hike – but we won’t let that happen.”
As telegraphed by Compass Colorado, Prop 103 is also going to provide a swift kick to the shins for Senate President Brandon Shaffer, who is running for Congress in the conservative 4th Congressional District. Both we and top Democrat power brokers think his chances of victory are between zero and zilch, so Shaffer's support of Prop 103 is likely to only increase the margin of victory for incumbent Congressman Cory Gardner.
Rollie Heath had a bad night Tuesday, watching his ballot initiative get curb kicked even in liberal bastions like Denver and Pueblo. But being a Boulder state Senator means he has little to worry about in 2012.
Those who have much to worry about can be found on our comprehensive list of legislative lovers of Prop 103 here.
You can be sure conservatives of all stripes will work hard to educate voters on these legislative losers support of a massive tax hike in a recession. Considering how badly Prop 103 went down on Tuesday, that has to make those politicians very, very nervous.