Finally, finally, election day is here and it can’t come soon enough. We actually miss the “As seen on TV” commercials and are pretty sick of the political ads. As you’re watching the returns tonight, here are a few races that everyone is watching and what to look for.
Governor’s Race – Walker Stapleton, by far the more appealing candidate on a variety of fronts, has been outspent due to Jared Polis’ (potentially ill-gotten) wealth. Everytime Stapleton raises a million, Polis writes himself a five million check. Will Stapleton be able to overcome Polis’ resources? We’ll find out tonight.
State Senate – Whether Republicans keep control of the State Senate will come down to two races – Senate Districts 20 and 24. In open seat Senate District 20, Republican Christine Jensen is battling it out in the streets of Jefferson County against Democratic State Rep. Jessie Danielson. Jensen is a worthy candidate who has worked hard in this race that will largely come down to turnout. In Senate District 24, Republican State Senator Beth Martinez Humenik is fighting to hold on to her seat in Adams County against Democrat State Rep. Faith Winter, who accused fellow (now former) Democrat State Rep. Steve Lebsock of sexual harassment. We’ve heard Winter is not playing well in Adams County, which used to be a Democratic stronghold, but is increasingly right leaning. But, again, this will come down to turnout.
Down Ballot – Colorado has a history of splitting the ticket at the top. So, even if Polis wins, there may be some Republican victories statewide in Secretary of State Wayne Williams, State Treasurer Brian Watson, and Attorney General George Brauchler. Williams has done the best job of raising positive name ID statewide as an elected official, Brauchler has successfully made the case that his opponent is wholly unqualified for the job, and voters tend to like Republicans to be a watchdog over their money. Go figure.
Coffman – Polling shows that Republican U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman is down in the polls and, as a result, has lost some of his national financial support as the National Republican Campaign Committee prioritizes races. For any other candidate, this would be a death sentence. Coffman has beat the odds before, so while he appears to be walking into the wind, we can’t count this soldier out just yet.
Proposition 112 – If there is a bright spot in this entire night, it will most certainly be the defeat of Proposition 112, which sought to ban oil and gas development in Colorado. Not surprisingly, the oil and gas industry has dumped tens of millions, maybe even as much as $40 million, into defeating this ridiculous measure. While it probably could have cost less, leaving money for other races (see Stapleton), this measure should go down. Of course, everything depends on turnout.
Pueblo – If Democrats want to understand why their brand is flagging nationwide, they need look no further than Pueblo, a former Democratic stronghold. As Democrats put greater distance between themselves and the common man, look for this area to become increasingly purple. While we used to look to Jefferson County as a bellwether for voting trends, Pueblo may soon be invading that space. In 2016, the county narrowly went for Trump, blowing the minds of pundits across the state and boosting right-leaning causes that year. Can candidates and causes find a few extra votes in Pueblo?
Despite some of these election day things to watch, all of this will come down to voter turnout. If keeping the state Senate is important to you and you live in either of these districts, get your ballots in. If having a Republican governor is important to you, get your ballots in. Every vote counts this year.