It’s already very clear that Colorado’s 2014 election is going to be epic. What’s unknown at this point though is just how epic it will be.
We know about the race for the U.S. Senate bringing in millions of dollars of campaign funds. And we know the races for Governor and for Congress in the 6th CD will be among the most competitive races in the country, bringing in their own millions.
But while it is expected that the battle over fracking bans and regulations will only add to this mess, we truly do not know to what extent.
Two weeks from now, the final signatures are due for any initiative seeking to get on this year’s ballot. 86,000 signatures are certainly attainable for almost any measure, but deadlines are deadlines. Some people hit them and some don’t.
So, when it’s all said and done, what will the ballot measure show down look like?
I’d love to offer some sort of inside knowledge on this one, but I am just as clueless as anyone else.
One thing I do know is that while getting the signatures can certainly be done, that is often not the last step to get something on the ballot. Often, those who oppose particular ballot measures will fight the veracity of the signatures and employ any methodology they can to prevent the measure from even appearing on the ballot.
Admittedly, as a debate producer, I am hoping for as many ballot issues as possible. I may or may not support any of them as a voter, but I enjoy the political exercise and I like debating the merits of ballot issues.
But this year offers a very different environment for ballot issues.
First, with three epic races on the ballot, buying airtime or getting any attention whatsoever will be difficult and costly. Second, fracking bans and local control initiatives will be lumped together whether organizers like it or not and whether or not the measures are sponsored by the same groups.
Is this year the best year to attempt to make a change facing this kind of challenge?
Finally, ballot measures this year come with the potential to cause more political fallout than in years past. The Personhood ballot measure is going to keep that issue in the headlines for Cory Gardner and any fracking measures will keep the Keystone pipeline issue in the news for Mark Udall.
If outside groups are willing to spend millions on those races between candidates, they will be willing to do what they feel they need to do to prevent possible damage from ballot issues.
Nearly 150 different ballot initiatives have begun the official process to get on the ballot. Nowhere near that amount will make it.
But the issues that will get through will make an already epic battle even more historic and face a unique landscape and set of challenges to become new laws in Colorado.
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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.