Much noise has been made by strategists on both sides of the aisle who say the state’s anti-fracking movement, led by U.S. Rep Jared Polis (D-Boulder) who has promised to fund anti-oil and gas initiatives this November, may be cutting the electoral throats of Democrats this November.
Gather around, PeakNation™, so we can explain.
Republicans think that the estimated $10 to $15 million that will be spent attacking the Polis initiatives will drive more Republicans to the polls. Democrats, we have heard repeatedly, fear this as well. From the top of the ticket to the bottom, Republicans will be united against the Polis initiatives.
And, most of the business community will be united behind them.
Democrats won’t be so lucky. Every single candidate for elected office will have to choose between the environmentalists and the business community. That will be painful. Democrat strategists aren’t eager to see their candidates put in this vise.
It will be particularly painful for the two men at the top of the ticket.
Governor John Hickenlooper’s split with anti-frack organizations is well documented. This split will only grow as Hick speaks out against the anti-fracking initiatives. …Unless Hick doesn’t speak out against the Polis initiatives, in which case people will start wondering what happened to the frack-fluid-chugging Governor. So Hick has to speak out, unless he doesn’t speak out, in which case…oh, what a tangled web Polis has woven for the Governor.
And, how will Senator Mark Udall deal with the mess that Polis is making? It is even trickier for him. Udall has been touting natural gas exports as a response to the Russia crisis. Pretty smart move by Udall. We can’t export natural gas, Senator, if we can’t first frack it. So, Udall will oppose the Polis oil and gas initiative right? Probably not….
Opposing Polis’ initiative is even harder for Udall. Udall’s wife, as the Denver media has ignored, is a mover and shaker in the national environmental movement with loyalties and money-ties that will make it next to impossible for Udall to oppose the Polis initiative.
Since Udall has yet to cross over on any major issue in his term as a Senator, it is hard to believe this would be the time, especially when it would only create Hickenlooper-sized base problems for him, too.
As Floyd Ciruli recently pointed out, Udall is probably also banking on outside money from the check writers in the Democratic Party who are motivated by Climate Change. Opposing the Polis frack initiative would be a climactic problem for these core Udall supporters.
If Udall decides to support the Polis initiative, he creates big problems for himself. But, if Udall is against the initiative, he creates bigger problems for himself. If Udall chooses to stay neutral, Rep. Cory Gardner will have more proof that Udall is spineless.
When you look at the whole scorecard, the anti-fracking panacea starts to look more like a 2014 nightmare for Democrats.
For this nightmare, Democrats can thank Jared Polis. The only thing that could make this issue better for Republicans would be if Polis had a portion of his vast wealth invested in Big Oil. He does, you say? Ok that settles it. This issue couldn’t be better for Republicans.