When one looks at the calendar, it may not seem that it is time for the primary season to get rolling. However, a closer look shows that if the GOP Gubernatorial primary season doesn’t hit high gear soon, it will miss a key opportunity to make a serious impact for the general election.
The primary election day is officially June 24th this year, but most voters will vote via mail-in ballot. Ballots generally go out about two weeks before Election Day, so that means that the week of June 9th will see the majority of ballots get into voters hands.
For all intents and purposes, the primary election is less than a month away. If we are less than a month away, we need to start to see the campaign heat up, for a variety of reasons.
Some may think that by “heat up”, I mean that the campaign should get more contentious and controversial. While that may be a byproduct of the campaign heating up, it doesn’t need to get testy.
By heating up, I mean that the races need to get on the radar of the majority of voters.
The ads can be congenial and very positive in nature and still warm up the campaign three to four fold. But the ads must start, the public events need to increase, the rallies need to get coverage and the big races need to get into the headlines.
A few debates have been held already. In fact, the primary season of Colorado Decides featuring the GOP primary races for Governor and for the 4th Congressional District will kick off on June 6th. But debates cannot be the only way the campaigns get noticed.
You may be wondering why I feel it is important that the campaigns get rolling soon. I don’t sell campaign ads for a living, so I do not have a direct vested interest.
But the campaigns do have a vested interest, and in more ways than you may think.
First, one third of the voters in Colorado are Republican. That is a lot of voters to reach in a short amount of time. And while only a small percentage of them will vote in the primary, you still need to reach them.
Secondly, much has been made of the potential damage a bruising primary can have on the eventual nominee. However, a key benefit of a competitive primary is that many other voters who are not registered Republicans begin to learn about the eventual nominee and positive impressions can be made. Yes, negative impressions can be made too, but no impressions are worse.
If the GOP hopes to defeat John Hickenlooper in November, the four candidates currently running for the nomination need every chance they can get to make an impression on independent voters.
Finally, the race needs to generate some headlines and notice in order to provide some momentum to for the nominee. June 24th is a long way from November 4th, but every element of positive news will help in what is bound to be a competitive race.
If the race for the U.S. Senate can start running ads in April and May, the candidates running in the June primary can as well.
Somebody better ring the bell soon, or the eventual nominee will miss a major opportunity to introduce himself to an electorate he hopes to win over in a just about five months.
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About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.