The Colorado Secretary of State’s office says the so-called “personhood” amendment will not be on the November ballot, despite any legal action from proponents to prove they collected enough voter signatures.
Secretary of State spokesman Andrew Cole tells the Denver Post the deadline for ballot certification was Monday. Even if a judge rules personhood sponsors’ petition was sufficient, the measure would have to wait for the 2014 general election.
In both the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, we extensively documented the significant collateral damage done to Republican candidates as they struggled with the “Personhood” amendment. Especially in those two elections, “Personhood” became a litmus test for Republican candidates early in their races and primaries–only to come back to bite them in the general election as the details of “Personhood” turned off women voters en masse. Former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams railed against “Personhood” supporters in 2008 and 2010 for imperiling the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in those elections–and both Bob Schaffer and Ken Buck can point to specific incidents where this initiative burned them rather than helped.
Especially given the bigger national stories of Todd Akin’s comments on rape and abortion, and the “Personhood”-style views on the issue held by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Republicans are breathing a huge sigh of relief that Ryan won’t be sharing a ballot in the crucial swing state of Colorado with the “Personhood” amendment. It’s enough of a benefit to the GOP strategically that persistent rumors have circulated since the original invalidation of the amendment late last month alleging GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler made sure it wouldn’t reach the ballot. We doubt anybody will ever prove that even if it’s true.
Bottom line: with “Personhood” off the ballot in 2012 regardless of the outcome of proponents’ court challenge, its usefulness to Democrats changes somewhat–but doesn’t go away. While they can’t call out Republicans for their present support for an initiative not on the ballot, “Personhood” remains a yoke around the neck of every politician who has previously expressed support for it. This is true for Republicans who endorsed one or both of these initiatives in the past, such as SD-22 candidate Ken Summers and Rep. Mike Coffman. But as we said yesterday, the candidate we believe is most vulnerable due to prior support for “Personhood” is Joe Coors–who took the additional step of helping fund Amendment 62 in 2010.
The fact that these initiatives have lost standing in conservative circles, especially after the defeat of “Personhood” in uber-conservative Mississippi, is probably good for Republicans politically in the long term–since they must do something about their image as a backward, oppressive, and misogynist party in order to survive as generations and attitudes shift.
Some Republicans, being part of the problem, may not be able to join them.