Buckle your seat belts and keep the channel-changer handy — election season begins in earnest this week.
Colorado has a handful of statewide races this year, including competitive contests for governor and the U.S. Senate. The Denver TV signals, already seemingly full of ads on one side or another of these races, will be positively choked with political ads during the next two months.
At the state level, it’s going to be interesting to see how Gov. John Hickenlooper campaigns. Hick, a Democrat, ran four years ago on a pledge to keep his campaigning clean and was able to keep that promise thanks to Republican incompetence. Dan Maes, the Republicans’ 2010 candidate, won a primary after a plagiarism scandal took down presumed front-runner Scott McInnis. Maes’ campaign then proceeded to implode, which allowed Hickenlooper to cruise to an easy win.
This year may be more difficult, given that Republicans wisely chose former congressman Bob Beauprez to challenge the incumbent. Beauprez promises to give Hickenlooper something he’s never experienced in politics — a legitimate challenge from a serious opponent.
The same is true in the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Udall. As opposed to Ken Buck’s not-ready-for-prime-time 2010 campaign against Democrat Michael Bennet, Republican Cory Gardner promises to give Udall a serious challenge.
We’ll follow those races, mostly from a distance, but we have races to keep our own staff busy for the next two months.
There are races for seats representing Eagle County in both the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate. Because Democrats hold a one-seat majority in the state Senate, expect plenty of money from outside the district to be spent on the race between Vail’s Kerry Donovan, a Democrat, and Republican Dan Suppes, of Orchard City, which is near Delta.
We aren’t sure what to expect from the race for the state House seat currently held by Steamboat Springs Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush. Republican Chuck McConnell, also of Steamboat, ran in 2012 for the then-new House district seat representing Routt and Eagle counties. We’ll see how round two of that contest shapes up.
We’ll have plenty to write about in Eagle County, too. There are two seats up for election on the Board of County Commissioners. The District 2 race pits appointed incumbent Kathy Chandler-Henry, a Democrat, against Republican Courtney Holm, who gave then-incumbent John Stavney a legitimate race in 2012. In District 3, two-term commissioner Sara Fisher is retiring due to term-limit legislation. Democrat Jeanne McQueeney and Republican Dick Mayne are seeking to replace Fisher.
We also have contested races for the county’s elected coroner and surveyor positions.
Then there’s Avon, where 10 candidates are running to fill four seats. Only appointed incumbent Matt Gennett has a possibility of returning to office, so that board will have at least three new members.
It’s going to be a busy two months for them, and for us, so stay tuned.