Election Day 2010 will test Democrats' success with 'Colorado model'
Colorado has played a key role in the narrative of the Obama administration and its political strategy. The Democrats' networked system of sharing campaign resources will be tested Tuesday on Election Day 2010.
The ads are out. Early voting is over. Pre-election polls and pundits have spoken. What's left is getting voters to the polls – a must in all states, but nowhere more so than in Colorado, where lavishly funded races for Senate, governor, and at least three House seats are coming down to the wire.Skip to next paragraph
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“To be short and to the point: We have a lot of work to do,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D) of Colorado, at a Sunday get-out-the-vote rally following a 72-hour bus tour. He is narrowly trailing challenger Ken Buck (R) in a race too close to call.
“Knock on every single door and make phone calls. When you do that, that’s what’s going to make a difference in this race,” he said.
More than just another battleground state, Colorado has played a key role in the narrative of the Obama administration and its political strategy. The president accepted the Democratic nomination at Denver’s Invesco Field. He signed his first major domestic priority – a $787 billion stimulus plan – in Denver.
Colorado also evolved a formidable political model in rallying a network of progressive groups, funded by big donors, to share databases and coordinate strategy and get-out-the-vote efforts – a model subsequently adopted by the Democratic National Committee and replicated in other battleground states. But the so-called Colorado model faces a formidable challenge in a year when public opinion has swung so strongly against the Obama administration and Democratic incumbents. It’s facing its greatest test in turning out voters in an election cycle expected to produce big gains for Republicans.
“Progressives here spent hundreds of millions to build in effect a political levy – to maximize good when things are good and to minimize losses when things are bad. The question in this election is: Can this infrastructure hold up to this very, very bad climate [for Democrats],” he says.
One indicator of enthusiasm is turnout for early voting. Democrats have lagged behind Republicans in Colorado’s early voting. As of Friday, the last day of early voting, 41 percent of ballots turned in were from Republicans, compared with 35 percent from Democrats and 23 percent from Independents, according to the Colorado secretary of State.