(Interesting forecasts – promoted by Pita)
With just a few days left in Colorado’s 2012 Primary season, Let’s take a look at the battles that are being fought and where the players currently stand.
A few things to acknowledge up front first:
1) Ballots have been out and available for casting for a while now. Many of those likely to vote already have, and there may be little (if anything) besides GOTV that candidates can do to legitimately benefit or harm their campaigns.
2. I am not going to touch the federal races. There are already a million people doing analysis on these races and at least 95% of them know more about the dynamics of a federal race than I do.
3. I am going to spend more time on the races that are both interesting and important. For instance, it doesn’t really matter which Republican wins in HD4 because they have a 0% chance of beating Dan Pabon. And while there is technically a Republican primary in HD21, one of the candidates has only raised $500, while the other has brought in over $8000. So there really isn’t much analysis necessary.
That said, enjoy my little list. And feel free to jump in with your own knowledge and insight on the various races. The first batch covers the CU Regents race and State Senate races. I’ll catch up with the District Attorney and State House races before the weekend.
CU Regent At-Large
GOP Matt Arnold vs GOP Brian Davidson
to take on DEM Stephen Ludwig
There has been plenty of coverage about the embarrassing display of self-destruction that is the Matt Arnold campaign. And it seems that Republicans are eager to rid themselves of Matt Arnold with enough time for voters to forget about him before November. Davidson has raised $37 to Arnolds $11k. But what’s more telling is the last two reporting periods. Davidson raised over $12k, while Arnold raised only $2k. Compare that to Feb-April, where Davidson raised $6k to Arnold’s $5.5 and you can see how much the tide has changed.
Bottom line: Expect Davidson to take this one in a landslide.
Senate District 8
GOP Rep. Randy Baumgardner vs incumbent GOP Sen. Jean White
to take on Dem. Emily Tracy
The first important thin to know about this race is that neither of the candidates has been elected to the seat before. Jean White was appointed to fill her husband’s seat when he resigned to work for Gov. Hickenlooper. The second is that this Senate district is dominated by Republicans, but motivated by moderates. Jean White was rated one of the most liberal members of the GOP caucus and voted with the Dems in favor of Civil Unions. She is also mopping the floor with Rep. Baumgardner in terms of fundraising. She’s raised $55k to his $21. This is a prime example of one of the few places where being a frothing-at-the-mouth, red-meat conservative doesn’t actually work for a GOP primary.
Correction: This paragraph was corrected to remove an inaccurate description of the geography of the distict.
Bottom Line: Expect White to win her first election and return to the Senate for a full term.
Senate District 10
GOP Rep. Larry Liston vs GOP Owen Hill
to take on… nobody. No democrat is running and the ACP candidate has yet to raise any money.
I really can’t describe this race any better than Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman did last month:
“Liston, a veteran lawmaker termed out of his House seat, faces an aggressive challenge by nonprofit executive Owen Hill in a bid to move up to the more rarified chamber. No newcomer to politics himself, Hill came within a few hundred votes of unseating Democratic Senate Majority Leader John Morse in a neighboring district in the last election and clobbered Liston at the GOP assembly, taking 64 percent of delegate votes to win top-line on the ballot. Are primary voters content with Liston’s business-friendly brand of Republicanism, or are they itching for the more confrontational style Hill would bring to the Capitol? As much as any race in the state, this contest could help define what direction the Colorado GOP takes in coming years.”
Liston has pulled ahead by quite a bit in fundraising since the above was written and seems to have the momentum to win it.
Bottom Line: Liston seems to everything going for him, but this is one that is tough to call. It could easily go either way.
Senate District 21
GOP Francine Bigelow vs GOP Matthew Plichta
to take on Dem. Jessie Ulibarri
This is one of those races that doesn’t really matter. Winning now simply means losing in the general election to Ulibarri, who has raised more in the last two weeks than the two GOP candidates have raised in the entire campaign… combined.
Bottom Line: Jessie Ulibarri has this one in the bag. The GOP candidates are just fighting for the chance to carry the conservative flag into the fire.
Senate District 23
GOP Rep. Glen Vaad vs. GOP Vicky Marble
to take on Dem. Lee Kemp
If you only looked at the fundraising, you might be tempted to think this race is neck-and-neck. But if you really want an indicator of who is going to win this race, simply google it. Go on, go type in “Colorado Senate District 28″ right now. You will find pages upon pages of news, websites, and mentions of Vicki Marble and next to nothing about State Rep. Glen Vaad. And if you actually go to their websites (once you manage to find Vaad’s), you will find a mountain of big name endorsements for Marble, while Vaad a train-wreck of a website that offers little for the curious voter.
Bottom Line: Marble is running this race to win it, while Vaad doesn’t seem to know what’s about to hit him. I’m calling this one for the scrappy outside challenger.
Senate District 28
GOP John Lyons vs GOP Art Carlson
to take on Dem Nancy Todd
This race is interesting. It’s relatively low budget (Each of the candidates have raised less than $3000). But they are fighting it hard. Art Carlson has put his resources into yard signs, plastering every corner of the district. Meanwhile, Lyons is putting his money on paper, dropping lit at doors and targeted mailboxes. But with so little for either to spend, awareness among voters is likely low. In the end though, whoever wins will be looking forward to taking on State Rep. Nancy Todd and her warchest of $23,000, and that’s after she officially kicked off her campaign just two weeks ago.
Bottom Line: As much fuss as Rep. Nancy Todd has been making over this race and trying to paint it as “competitive”, it simply isn’t. At least not with the candidates that the GOP has managed to offer up. Neither of the GOP challengers is getting any kind of support from the larger party or from anyone else, really, and Todd’s name ID alone gives her a massive advantage. Rep. Todd will be Sen. Todd soon enough. No one who seriously looks at HD28 can expect anything but a decisive win for the Democrats.
Senate District 35
Dem. Crestina Martinez vs. Dem. Armando Valdez
to take on GOP Larry Crowder
The one and only Democratic Party Primary in this post and one of only 5 statewide. The money is weird. Martinez has outraised Valdez by 3-1, but she’s not spending it. She’s spent only $3k on the race while Valdez has spent over $8k. When I asked some people I know in ther area to explain the told me that Valdez is simply not performing at any level that presents a threat to Martinez’s campaign, so she’s saving up her money for the General Election. Hopefully, for her sake, that doesn’t prove to be a mistake. That said, I hope that, if Valdez does lose in this race, that he comes back and runs for something again one day. He is a smart, well-spoken young man with a lot of potential. And the people of Southern Colorado would do well to use him o the fullest of that potential.
Bottom Line: Martinez won by nearly 20 points at the County Assembly and seems poised to win big again next Tuesday. But with so little money being moved, anything could happen.