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The Senate Race
Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs, 2.0
My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
Much has been said in Colorado over the last several weeks over the stunning weakness of the state GOP. To reiterate, we lost an open Senate seat, we lost an open House seat, and we lost control of both chambers of the state legislature for the first time in decades. Nonetheless, the President won the state fairly easily, and Reps. Beauprez and Musgrave, both of whom were supposed to be in tough fights, won re-election fairly easily.
I spent many hours working the Beauprez campaign. For an incumbent campaign, I can tell you they were working as if they had zero advantage. In point of fact, the 7th CD has a slight Dem voter registration advantage, which could be a big part of why they were all working so hard. Nonetheless, you never got the impression working around that campaign that any good polling news was the end of the story, that they were at all overconfident, or that there was any sense at all of "coasting". That may explain why reelection was a double-digit event.
But the down-ticket races confuse me. Surely, someone had polling data showing that these state legislators were in trouble; surely, someone had some resources to re-direct towards those candidates, even if it just meant a campaign appearance by a popular GOP pol (gee. . .I don't know. . .maybe the GOVERNOR). I do get a little bit of a sense from what I'm hearing that there was a bit of overconfidence with regards to the state legislature.
Which brings me to my baseless speculation: Is it possible that, given the very effective targeted hit pieces on state races, that there was a sort of "reverse coat tail" effect, where a decision made on a down-ticket race had a negative effect on an up-ticket race? Is it possible that John Salazar did not ride his brother's coattails into the House, so much as both of them rode the state legislative Dems coattails into office?
How do I explain Bush/Beauprez/Musgrave in this scenario? All three of them are well-known incumbents. . .period. Beauprez did many impressive things in his first term, and worked his tail off to get 7CD again; Musgrave was very effective (marriage amendment notwithstanding) for a rookie, and is well-liked in her district, as well as running against the same guy she beat four years ago; and the President is the President-_Colorado was never going to elect Kerry.
But in the major upticket races in which the playing field was somewhat level, the Dems did very well.
So I'm just asking.
Clay has some very good thoughts on this past election and party loyalty--check him out.