Though a fantastic orator and intellectual heavy weight, Johnston faces steep challenges getting through a Democratic primary and a general election. During his time in the state legislature, Johnston alienated much the liberal wing of his party by championing teacher tenure reform and fighting the unions at every turn. While that aspect of his record makes him liked in some circles, those aren’t the circles that help Democrats win highly competitive primaries. Johnston is also best known for championing a $1 billion tax hike, the biggest in Colorado history. Despite how charming and persuasive he can be 63 percent of voters flat out rejected the tax hike that had his name and face plastered all over it.
Getting in early is also an interesting move that shows Johnston might have concerns about raising money and locking in key donors, many of which are probably waiting to see what former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter are going to do. We’ll be eagerly awaiting his first quarter fundraising report, which will be a real indicator as to whether he has any real shot at the nomination.