Colorado Senate estimates how big the GOP wave could be in November

When Democrats candidly assess the party’s outlook for November, their responses range from bad to awful to crouching and fetal whining.

It looks like all but some Democrats will lose control of the House, with Republicans only needing to win four seats. The guerrilla redrawing of constituencies since the last census should roughly cover this spread.

The real fight is for control of the 50-50 Senate, where the Republicans are saddled with some dubious prospects.

If the Democrats remain in control, it will be thanks to candidates like Herschel Walker, the epically clueless former American football star who could easily have missed one of the GOP’s top opportunities in Georgia, and election deniers like Adam Laxalt in Nevada.

But let’s say the red wave is big. Say he’s not only strong enough to sweep away GOP debris like Walker and trash like Pennsylvania’s Laxalt and Mehmet Oz, but also strong enough to lead a Republican to victory in a blue state like Colorado.

In that case, the Democrats’ November could be really, really bad.

Democrat Michael Bennett, an amiable state senator, should be racing for re-election. President Biden led Colorado by more than 13 percentage points. Republicans have not won the gubernatorial office in over 20 years, and the last Republican to win a Senate seat in 2014 narrowly won the vote. landslide year for the Republican Party.

But strategists on both sides say the race is far from over, even if it leans toward Bennett. If Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania seem more problematic, Republicans see Colorado as a place where they can potentially win a seat from the Democratic Party and improve their chances of winning the Senate.

Think of the state as a barometer. Or, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors, call Bennett a canary on the beach measuring how high the Republican tide can rise.

“He’s not in danger yet,” said Floyd Ciruli, a Denver pollster who has polled Colorado voters for decades. “But [President] Biden is in terrible shape, and if that becomes a factor, many candidates we think will be safe could be in trouble.”

The Democrats have done their best to keep the Senate race out of the reach of the Republicans. The party and its allies have spent millions on the GOP’s primary promotion of state senator. Ron Hanks, fireman Trump’s crazy trainhoping to make him an opponent of Bennett.

A strategy that worked elsewhere didn’t work in Colorado.

Instead, the Republicans chose Joe O’Dea, 60, a fourth-generation Colorado who made his fortune building a construction company and calls himself “Republican Joe Manchin” who is willing to “work with reasonable people on both sides of the aisle.”

“I will vote for my conscience, I will make a difficult choice, I will fray some feathers,” he said after winning the primary. “No political party will own me.”

Which is a good thing to say in a state that has more nonpartisan voters than registered Democrats or Republicans.

O’Dea rejects much of what has become Republican Party orthodoxy. hello layoffs Trump’s lie that the 2020 election is stolen, opposes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and says he supports the right to abortion “in early pregnancy” and later in cases involving rape, incest or to save a woman’s life. (Democrats point out that he did not support state and federal legislation that would have made the right to abortion a law.)

Like most Republicans, he would rather campaign against Biden and the scourge of crime and inflationwhich have undermined the president’s approval rating here in Colorado, as elsewhere.

It’s a weight hanging around Bennett’s neck.

The lawmaker was appointed to the Senate in 2009 when Ken Salazar entered President Obama’s cabinet and struck out an election against a bumbling opponent in 2010, which was another big year for Republicans. Bennett was re-elected in 2016 with a less than impressive 49.97% of the vote, also against a weak opponent.

To characterize the 57-year-old senator in one word would be harmless; even political opponents say Bennett is a good guy. Another word would be non-exclusive.

Bennett was free from controversy and avoided scandals. But he also did not achieve high-profile legislative victories. Have ran an unforgettable 2020 presidential campaign and, unlike some previous Colorado senators, did not gain much national reputation.

He certainly wasn’t as prominent as the other Colorado senator. quirky former governor John Hickenlooper. (Bizarre, like appearing in a campaign ad, jumping out of a plane and taking a shower in a shirt and tie.)

“He’s more of an introverted intellectual,” Ciruli said of the senior state senator.

Which can hardly be called a sin, although in this state of nature worship it is remarkable. Bennett’s first ad shows him walking through mountain greens in a plaid shirt and hiking pants, discussing lobbying for reform and avoiding PAC corporate money.

Democrats say there’s enough on O’Dea’s record to portray him as just another standard Republican. They cite his opposition to new gun control, support for cutting Medicare and Social Security, a slow approach to combating climate change, and have pledged to support Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee in 2024.

“The GOP brand in Colorado is still tarnished,” said Alan Salazar, chief of staff for Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver. “O’Dea needs to get over this by breaking completely with Trump.”

This, however, risks alienating Republicans by requiring O’Dea to walk a fine line. As a political newbie, it’s not clear if he has the skills to do so.

Being a Democrat in a Democratic-leaning state should be enough for Bennett to win in November.

If he loses, it probably won’t be because of what Bennett said or did, or because of a lack of great accomplishments.

Rather, it will be the ebb of a deeply unpopular president and a Republican tide so powerful that it has swept through the skyscrapers of the Rocky Mountains.