DENVER (CBS4) – This election could give Democrats more control in Colorado than they have had in decades. For more than a century, Colorado has been a purple state — sometimes giving Democrats more control, sometimes Republicans. The year of 1937 was the exception. That year, Democrats controlled every statewide elected office, the entire Congressional delegation, and 80% of the state legislature.
Democrats could have sweeping control again 83 years later. CBS4 Democratic analyst Mike Dino says it’s not just the Trump phenomenon at work.
“We’re a very urbanized state now. Eighty-five percent of our population lives in urban areas.”
The impact of that, he says, is evident in ballot measures like Proposition 114 that would reintroduce gray wolves west of the Continental Divide.
“It will probably pass because urban voters probably will vote for that, and in more rural areas people who are affected by it may not.”
CBS4 Republican analyst Dick Wadhams says not only are there more urban voters, the only statewide office holder not from Denver or Boulder is Sen. Cory Gardner. (Gov. Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold live in Boulder County and Attorney General Phil Weiser and Sen. Michael Bennet live in Denver.)
“Democrats really are targeting rural agriculture with wolf reintroduction. They’re targeting rural energy development and those great jobs that are held across rural Colorado in coal mining and oil and gas exploration. We’re going to see more of it if this election goes the way we think it might.”
Dino says there will definitely be a shift left — especially on issues like climate change — but he agrees with Wadhams that, if Democrats overreach, they won’t be in control long. Almost half, 40%, of voters in Colorado aren’t Democrat or Republican, they’re unaffiliated.
“They will not give Democrats a lot of leeway if they move to the extreme,” said Dino.
Wadhams predicts Democratic rule will be short-lived.
“I fully expect Democrats at both the national and state levels to absolutely lose control of themselves and there will be a backlash in 2022.”
The state has been trending blue for the last few elections. In 2016, there were only about 6,000 more Democrats here than Republicans. Today, there are 100,000 more Democrats. They already have control at the State Capitol, but they could have veto-proof majorities after Nov. 3. That means, even if the governor disagrees with them, they could override his veto.
Dick Wadhams is Republican political consultant who has worked with former Colorado Senator Wayne Allard and former Colorado Governor Bill Owens. He also worked on John Thune’s upset victor over then United States Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota. Wadhams was elected as the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party in 2007 and 2009.
Mike Dino is a Democratic government affairs expert with more than 30 years of experience. He was the CEO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Host Committee where President Obama received his historic nomination. Dino also served as the executive director of Denver’s Task Force for the 1997 Summit of the Eight.