PROJECT GUARDRAIL: Colorado 2020 Hickenlooper vs Gardner
One of the top election forecasters recently moved Colorado’s U.S. Senate election from the category of “toss up” to “leans Democratic.” Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan project of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, cited Colorado voters’ continued preference for Democrats and incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s general support for President Donald Trump as reasons for the change.
“This re-election path for Gardner isn’t impossible, but he needs some things to break his way in order to retain his seat. Hence, it makes more sense to look at Gardner as an underdog,” the Crystal Ball concluded.
The forecast noted that Gardner’s 48%-46% victory in 2014 over then-U.S. Sen. Mark Udall came in part from a strong performance in Congressional District 6. Since then, the district has voted in much greater margins for Democrats. The Crystal Ball concluded that Gardner would not likely receive many votes from Democrats in the district this time, “at least not in the necessary volume he’d traditionally need.”
We are all in for Hickenlooper!
How we beat Cory Gardner: run up the score
Colorado is steadily trending Democratic, but Cory Gardner (R-CO) proved in 2014 that conservative Republicans can win statewide contests against popular Democrats like former US Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). Hickenlooper can take nothing for granted. A successful Democratic strategy will focus on the following areas:
First, Colorado is a "mail-in only" election which means every voter in the state is proactively sent a mail-in ballot. Democrats must bank as many of these as possible during early/ absentee voting to run up the score in Denver and Boulder County.
Second, Democrats need to maximize turnout among voters of color and suburban in the Denver metro area, specifically the 6th Congressional District in particular, but also in communities like Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.
Third, Hickenlooper needs to increase his support amongst Millennials. In 2018 they were the single largest cohort of voters in the increasingly progressive state.
Finally, Democrats needs to persuade a significant share of 2016 third-party voters who voted in 2018. Especially, in former conservative strongholds like Mineral County which went blue for Jared Polis in 2018.
TakeItBack.Org and Project Guardrail are excited to lend a hand in Colorado, but we need your help.