William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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COLORADO SURPRISE?  With all the election predictions pouring forth from the usual neurotic pundits, we return to the calm, thorough journalistic voice of Salena Zito, who actually talks to real people.  She may be on to a Colorado surprise.  From American Greatness: 

EAGLE, Colorado — There is something going on here in Colorado politics that is not much different than what happened in Virginia exactly one year ago: a shift away from the status quo and the odds-on favorite Democrat toward his Republican challenger. 

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is seeking a second full term against Republican challenger Joe O’Dea. And the question, in a state where people tend to dislike both parties but increasingly favor Democrats, is whether O’Dea is independent enough to earn their vote.

Democrats viewed O’Dea as enough of a threat that they dropped $10 million into the Republican primary to manipulate voters into backing his “stop-the-steal” primary rival. Their advertising to Republican voters aimed to paint O’Dea as a centrist, which complicates their task now. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is rather unpopular in this state. 

For his own part, O’Dea is a really good candidate whose worldview very much reflects that of the voters here: fierce, independent thinking and owing nothing to anyone. 

Like Virginia, Colorado is a blue state that occasionally flirts with Republican candidates. And as in Virginia, the voters here are unhappy that the Democrat running to represent them has lost his independence. They are now listening to the candidate who speaks to them and not just a party line — and polling reflects that. A survey conducted for the Republican Attorney General’s Association shows Bennet up over O’Dea by just one point, 48% to 47% — that in a state Biden won handily less than two years ago.

O’Dea has spent his campaign time listening to voters here. They discuss the impact inflation has had on their personal and professional lives. Business owners in places such as Snowmass and Aspen are struggling to find workers and stay open. 

O’Dea says it is the same thing he hears over and over again as he travels across the state. “I’ve been to 60 out of 64, the counties, between the primary and then here at the general election, and the No. 1 issue I’m hearing is economy,” he said. “It’s inflation. It’s how expensive things are and how they can’t afford things that used to be staples in their lives. The price of gas, while it has come down, it is still over $1.25 a gallon more than it was a year ago. People are really, really feeling financially insecure, and they are having to make tough choices between kids being able to go on vacation, kids being able to play sports.” 

“And in lower-income areas,” he adds, “it’s a choice between filling up the car and heating the house. It’s groceries at an all-time high, really, really strapping people that just, like I said, they’re just not feeling financially secure at all.” 

The No. 2 issue, he says, is crime. “They don’t feel secure,” he said, “especially in some of the Denver areas and some of the more inner-city areas — people are really worried about crime here in Colorado.”...

...O’Dea is not your father’s Republican candidate, but he is also not former President Donald Trump’s Republican candidate. He is his own man and someone whose personal story wraps around his approach to the issues. He has been very vocal in hoping that the former president does not run again. Although that storyline fascinates Washington reporters, it is the other things he stands for that fascinate voters.

COMMENT:  I trust Salena Zito's judgment.  We have an unexpected shot in Colorado.  A Republican pick-up.  We'll watch closely.  Dreams do come true.

September 6, 2022