Gov. Hickenlooper’s refusal to give up on the idea of a special session and compromise over fracking has often times left us scratching our heads. At so many points in the process the deal was close to dead only to be kept on life support by Hick. The longer a compromise eludes him, the less competent he looks. So what gives?
In order to answer that question, let’s back up to April when Eli Stokols wrote a special piece for POLITICO entitled “How Fracking Could Break Colorado Democrats”. Stokols summarized Democrat operative Ted Trimpa’s concerns over the potential ban:
[Trimpa] worries that the ballot initiative would splinter a progressive coalition in Colorado that’s been so successful that it’s now seen as a blueprint for Democrats and Republicans in other states—its many successes attributable to an unusual and lasting harmony, an ability to avoid sticky policy fights that distract from the shared goal: winning.
Trimpa’s fears were not unfounded, and that ‘splintering’ he referred to is already being seen in the state Senate where Dems only hold a one-seat majority. Hick can’t even corral his own party enough in the Senate to get a compromise passed, and Republicans certainly aren’t going to do him any favors by lending it bipartisan support in an election year.
Adding to Hickenlooper’s troubles is the fact that the oil and gas industry has been bolstered by the vote in Loveland. From The Washington Times:
Unfortunately for Mr. Hickenlooper, the Loveland vote may have convinced those in Colorado’s surging oil-and-gas industry that they can win at the ballot box in November, when they’re expected to face two statewide anti-fracking measures backed by multimillionaire Democratic Rep. Jared Polis….
…. The last thing Mr. Polis‘ fellow Colorado Democrats want is an expensive statewide anti-fracking fight, which would expose the party’s rift on oil-and-gas development, risk alienating their allies in the environmental movement, and endanger the re-election bids of Mr. Hickenlooper and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.
Doesn’t seem like there is an easy way for Hickenlooper to aw-shucks his way out of this one. Looks like he’s going to have to run a real race for once.