Colorado races in November expected to come down to inflation and Biden vs. Roe and Jan. 6

The most obvious take from the Colorado primaries last week is that Republicans, at least in the statewide races, rejected the Big Lie and also rejected the Big Crazies who were running to support that lie. .

Mike Litwin

I mean, can we all give Ron Hanks and Tina Peters, in particular, a warm farewell? My guess is that State Rep. Hanks will fall back into relative obscurity — the perfect place for him, by the way — and Mesa County Clerk Peters, who has been indicted on 10 election-related charges, including seven crimes, will be very lucky if she avoids prison. In fact, the only bright spot I can see in Peters’ future is that the MyPillow guy would probably set him up with comfy bedding in prison.

But the story doesn’t end there, of course. The real story has only just begun. And all that’s at stake, that’s all.

Assuming the election gurus are right – and the judgments come close enough to unanimity – Jared Polis will have no problem sending Heidi Ganahl into the gubernatorial race. Colorado has a long history of incumbent re-election. Polis, of course, has unlimited funds to spend. And even when Colorado was a deep red state, it still used to elect Democratic governors.

And it took Ganahl — who ran, to put it mildly, an unimpressive primary race — almost the entire campaign and several Jan. 6 committee hearings to finally realize that she would have no choice but to comment. the Big Lie. But she’s unlikely to back down from Donald Trump, who you’ll recall lost Colorado by 13 points in 2020. And her views on Roe and Colorado’s new abortion rights law have been , say, everywhere. , but especially in strongly anti-abortion territory.

The big question for Ganahl is whether National Republicans think she has a chance and if they will send her money. Even in the age of Citizens United’s unlimited black money, there’s not much to do, and there are far more important — and likely competitive — races for Republicans than this one.

Meanwhile, the buzz around Polis is that if Joe Biden doesn’t show up in 2024 – and I’m almost ready to start taking bets he won’t – then Polis, who has never been shy , even by political standards, about his ambitions, will be considered possible presidential material. He says it wouldn’t be conceivable to leave Colorado for just any job, but if he could ignore the whispers – see: Hickenlooper, John and Bennet, Michael – I’d be somewhere between surprised and shocked.

The funny thing is, when he first ran for governor, Republicans did their best to portray him as a hardline liberal from Boulder. But the reason a lot of Democratic strategists like him is because Polis was governing much more like a libertarian than a progressive, especially when it came to COVID.

In the most important race in the state, as it could determine which party controls the US Senate, Michael Bennet will be challenged by political novice Joe O’Dea. Again Bennet, who has a “likely” seat rating according to the Cook report, has the starting advantage. He will have no problem finding money.

And liberals, who were lukewarm on Bennet during his tenure in Washington, will remember Bennet’s Senate fights with fat Ted Cruz and his defense of the expanded child tax credit, which briefly took out millions of dollars. children of poverty. The tax credit law ended after a year and was not renewed, which meant that those millions of children fell back into poverty. If you have a problem with that — and the law does the polls very well — there’s only one way to get it back, and that’s to elect a Democratic Congress.

This is O’Dea’s first run for office. He’s a construction company owner who’s been smart enough to stay away from the big lie from the start. He did the moderate thing on abortion saying that although he was personally pro-life, he didn’t want to see Roe v. Wade knocked down. But he also said he would not have voted for the new Colorado law passed by the legislature this year, one guaranteeing the right to abortion.

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It won’t be as easy for O’Dea in a general election, in which Democrats hope to put the conservative Supreme Court in general, and Roe’s end in particular, at the heart of their 2020 message. will be the January 6 coup attempt and what we will learn from the January 6 committee hearings. So far, the ratings have suggested that a number of Republicans might possibly need the My Pillow guy’s help. Maybe even Trump himself. Will O’Dea abandon Trump? I suppose not.

The testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the top aide to Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was devastating. And the way those hearings worked, they built on each other to further strengthen the case against Trump and his team. The final hearings are scheduled for September, which, even given America’s short attention span, should be fresh in the minds of midterm voters. Trump continues to complain that Republicans aren’t standing up for him. But the reason for the lack of defense is that many loose Trump defenders have refused invitations — and even subpoenas — to testify.

And it’s likely the Senate will act on a bill codifying Roe — a bill that has already passed the House — by putting it to a vote and putting everyone on the record. Biden even called on Dems to circumvent filibuster rules to push the bill through. Unfortunately, thanks to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, they won’t. And given O’Dea’s objections to the Colorado law, particularly regarding late-term abortions, I’d bet he’s not eager to approve a Senate vote.

It’s a race that of course has a national interest, given that the Senate is evenly split 50-50, and Republicans have the clear historical advantage that the out of power party wins seats. But if Hanks had won the primary, it would have been a safe seat for Bennet. This is why Democrats threw so much money at the Republican primary. Right now, Bennet’s seat is something like the 10th most likely seat to tip over, meaning he’s nowhere near the front of the pack. The money will come some way — all semi-competitive races will see obscene spending — but O’Dea will have to show he’s competitive for National Republicans to go all-in.

Colorado Democrats are much more fearful of losing the state Senate — where they have a 20-15 majority — and statewide offices, where Republicans, even in good Democratic times, often succeed. . And if it’s an election wave — which is obviously possible with raging inflation and plummeting Joe Biden approval ratings — Republicans are likely to get a big push. in Colorado, maybe even enough for O’Dea to give Bennet a good run, not to mention improve their prospects in the newly created 8th Congressional District and possibly the post-retirement 7th. Ed Perlmutter.

To avert a surge and perhaps hold the U.S. Senate — Democrats, we keep hearing, are likely to lose the House whether or not there’s a tsunami-like wave — Democrats will need to keep the spotlight on the overthrow. of Roe and the other Supreme Radical. Court decisions. There’s a long list after Roe. The conservative-dominated court has already diminished Biden’s ability to fight climate change, reduced the separation between church and state and jumped straight into the gun safety debate by quashing a 108-year-old New York law.

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In many cases, judges have done their utmost to significantly expand the cases before them. As Chief Justice John Roberts pleaded with his fellow conservatives, they could have simply upheld the restrictive Mississippi law they were considering without touching Roe. Instead, we’ll now see a hodgepodge of laws across the country, many of which — like receiving abortion pills in the mail or women leaving their state for abortions elsewhere — will likely come down to the Supreme Court.

And then there’s Clarence Thomas – who in his concurring opinion gave us several clues as to where the court might go – and he talks about targeting same-sex marriage, contraception, even bringing back sodomy laws and who knows what else.

In a normal year, inflation should doom the Democrats in November, and it very well could still do so. But this is not a normal year, starting with the storming of the Capitol and the war in Ukraine.

The thing is, now that I think about it, I can’t remember the last time we had a normal year.


Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions, and countless mind-numbing speeches in the snow of New Hampshire and Iowa.


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