This morning Colorado Democrats woke up to an entirely different political reality.
Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governorship to become the first statewide elected Republican in the state since 2009, while New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy appears to be headed towards a narrow win.
Virginia voted for Joe Biden by a 10 point margin, and New Jersey went for Biden by 16 points a year ago.
The political ramifications of these outcomes for Colorado cannot be understated.
New Jersey is a state in which Republicans should never have had a chance. If a Biden +16 state is rebelling against Democrats, that is a horrendous omen for their political fortunes across the country.
Virginia especially though has to give Colorado Democrats some serious heartburn. It’s a very comparable state to Colorado demographically in that voters in both states have similar levels of educational attainment and large suburban populations.
Colorado also went for Biden in 2020 by a similar margin to Virginia.
If Republicans can win in suburbanizing Virginia, where Biden won by 10 and Democrats dominated for a decade, you have to start thinking about Colorado, much less Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona.
— Brad Todd (@BradOnMessage) November 3, 2021
The Civiqs tracking poll has Biden’s approval rating the exact same in Colorado and Virginia, and the president has seen his support steadily erode in both states this year at a comparable pace.
As the big wins for conservatives in Douglas County last night demonstrated, education is also a top issue for many suburban voters here, as was the case in Virginia.
Much like Virginia, conservative candidates for city council in Aurora won races putting issues like crime, public safety, and cost of living at the forefront of their campaigns.
If one wanted to point out a striking difference between Virginia and Colorado, it would be that before this week, Virginia hadn’t elected a Republican to statewide office since 2009.
Republicans in Colorado, meanwhile, have prevailed on the statewide level as recently as 2016 and 2014.
Gino Campana’s Senate campaign blasted out a memo Wednesday morning arguing the striking similarities between the two states means Colorado’s 2022 Senate race should resemble 2014, when Cory Gardner defeated Mark Udall, much more so than the wave year for Democrats in 2020.
“Colorado being the big one,” a GOP strategist active in Senate races said. That’s the message the Campana campaign was pushing in its memo to Republican donors and party activists. #copolitics https://t.co/RkyrAHS73U
— Matt Connelly (@MattConnelly) November 3, 2021
Beyond Colorado’s Senate race, last night’s political earthquake should also cause conservative activists, donors, and prospective candidates to reevaluate every single statewide race.
Polis’s odds of reelection took a major hit, as did those of Attorney General Phil Wesier and Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
The attorney general race in particular will be a tremendous opportunity for conservatives to replace Weiser. Republicans have traditionally run ahead of their statewide peers in these races, and Weiser’s record on crime and public safety is nothing short of abysmal.
Colorado’s new CD-8 race north of Denver will also receive immense national attention, and the NRCC announced their intention to target Ed Perlmutter in the new CD-7.
“In a cycle like this, no Democrat is safe,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, the Minnesota Republican who heads the NRCC. “Voters are rejecting Democrat policies that have caused massive price increases, opened our borders, and spurred a nationwide crime wave.”
Democrats’ biggest problem is when it comes to inflation, crime, and education they have absolutely zero message.
On inflation, liberals are ideologically opposed to cutting federal spending or raising interest rates, which are the two primary tools the government has to combat inflation.
When it comes to crime, the left is tied inextricably to the defund the police movement, and politicians like Weiser have become outright hostile to law enforcement during a record crime wave. How is that a recipe for improving public safety?
And on education, Democrats are still completely beholden to teachers’ unions and removing parental input from education. Ask Terry McAuliffe, or the liberals down in Douglas County how that worked out for them.
We don’t envy Colorado Democrats as they embark on what will surely be some painful soul searching.
Because as it stands now, Republicans are getting ready to ride a Rocky Mountain Red Wave in 2022.