Democrats, who ran legislative reapportionment like a crooked card game in a bordello with bedbugs, created real opportunities for Colorado's Republicans in 2012. It appears they didn't create enough solid, safe Democratic districts. They missed “the shift in party identification” to Republicans and strong Republican legislative recruits.
Color me Vastly Surprised at Their Boo-Boo
These districts fall within five percent of having equal numbers from both parties.
- Adams County, five districts (H31, 45%; H34, 46%; H35, 47%; H30, 47%; S25, 48%).
- Arapahoe County, five districts (S26, 52%; H36, 47%; S28, 49%; H40, 49%; H03, 53%).
- Jeffco, seven districts (H24, 48%; H23, 49%; H28, 49%; H29, 50%; S22, 53%; H26, 53%; S19. 53%).
- Northern Colorado, five districts (H53, 47%; S14, 50%; H52, 52%; H50, 53%; H11,47%; Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont).
- Colorado Springs, two districts (H17, 52% and H18, 53%).
- Broomfield (H33, 53%), Pueblo (H47, 49%), the San Luis Valley (S35, 49%) and one Ski district (H61, 50%, stretching from Cedaredge to Heeney) round out the list.
Food for Thought
#1: Democrats must defend lots of districts. 2012 will be tough for incumbents on defense. Voters want new faces.
#2: Swing terrain is concentrated. It's suburbs, mostly working class and Hispanic-influenced. Blue collar voters are unhappy with Obama. Colorado's Hispanic voters tend a bit more Republican than Hispanics elsewhere. Republicans have proven hopeful messages for these voters; Democrats have safety-net voodoo scare tactics.
#3: Northern Colorado's Democrats rely on ardent college voters and volunteers who may not be there in 2012. They're turning away from politics. Voting intention is down 14%; likelihood of volunteering in politics is down 33%.
#4: Broomfield's recent State House winners: one Democrat, two Republicans. That's swing.
#5: The San Luis Valley and Pueblo vote more Republican than registration alone would suggest. The two-to-one county clerk recall down there may kibosh election shenanigans in 2012.
#6: House District 61 is not a Democrat safe haven, given demographic upheaval of this Great Recession. Bennet got 3,000 fewer votes in the HD 61 counties in 2010 than Ritter in '06. Wrong direction for Democrats.
Gerrymandering, Upsets and Opportunities
Colorado's Democrats are skilled serial gerrymanderers, but hubristic map-drawing finaglers do create districts that subsequently go bad. They weren't helped by Colorado's shift in partisan registration. Shortly after the 2008 election, Republicans were 50% of active major party voters; now they're 54%.
Upsets happen right after reapportionments. Canny Republicans should engineer surprises.
Colorado's GOP understands the opportunities. Republican candidates have powerful new ideas. State Vice Chair Ytterberg got his job because of Jeffco candidates' successes. National Committeewoman Lilly Nunez keeps her spot. Judge them by their successes: Ytterberg in swing suburban wins, Nunez in helping Hispanic-influenced districts.
Will Karl Rove say much the same April 13th? Get your tickets at cologop.org.