From The Denver Post’s Vince Carroll, here’s another update on our local Colorado politics: Carroll: Toe to Toe in Colorado Governor’s Race. Excerpt:
John Hickenlooper is in a fight for his political life, but you certainly can’t lay it on his opponent. Bob Beauprez’s campaign for governor has been far more sure-footed than the last time he ran for the office, in 2006, but it has not been memorable or creative, either.
Nor has it been notably geared to attracting independents and moderates. Beauprez has hewed to predictable conservative positions on most issues. And in a few cases — immigration and oil and gas drilling, for example — he has even sounded gratuitously right-wing.
If there’s a position of his that would raise eyebrows with his GOP base, I haven’t noticed it.
Carroll is right, so far, of course; but he also notes:
By contrast, Hickenlooper has irritated the Democratic base on several occasions during his term, most notably by his support for hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas drilling. Had a Republican or more liberal Democrat been governor these past four years, it’s quite possible the debate over fracking would have degenerated into a fully partisan issue — a dangerous state of affairs given the importance of energy development, and indeed fossil fuels, to this state.
Given this observation, and I think it’s a good one, Bob Beauprez may be thinking he can afford to run a rather tepid campaign; one of the first rules of any manner of conflict is “when your opponent is punching himself in the face, let him.“
But what Mr. Carroll misses isn’t just Hickenlooper’s estrangement of Denver and Boulder liberals over energy policy. There’s another factor in play, and that is Hickenlooper’s support for the Colorado Legislature’s recent bouts of gun-control stupidity, which has cost three Democrat legislators their seats already. While Denver and Boulder are reliably bright blue, the Colorado Democratic party also has a strong leavening of blue-collar Truman Democrats around Pueblo and in the Arkansas Valley, and those voters to not look kindly on attempts to restrict their Second Amendment rights.
In the considered opinion of yr. obdt., Hickenlooper is still the likely winner. But the race draws closer, and six weeks is a long, long time in politics.