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Why the millions of dollars Democrats spent in Colorado’s Republican primaries didn’t work

Jesse Paul and Sandra Fish
The Colorado Sun
Joe O'Dea, a construction company CEO and first-time candidate for office, celebrates the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate over state Rep. Ron Hanks with his wife Celeste, right, at Mile High Station in Denver on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via AP

Democrats have little to show for the millions of dollars they spent over the past month on TV ads, mailers and text messages seeking to influence the outcome of Colorado’s Republican primaries for U.S. Senate, governor and in the hotly contested new 8th Congressional District. 

All of the more extreme GOP candidates Democrats wanted to see win on Tuesday lost, most by significant margins.

The spending strategy has worked before in Colorado for Democrats, and it was successful for the party in Illinois, where they were able to help a far-right Republican gubernatorial candidate win his primary over a more moderate opponent backed by the GOP establishment. So what happened in Colorado this year that made all that spending and the deluge of messaging it paid for so ineffective?



“The messages were confusing to me,” said Ted Trimpa, a longtime Democratic lobbyist and strategist in Colorado who worked on a successful Democratic effort to affect the outcome of the state’s 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary. “And I don’t think (the spending) took into account unaffiliateds voting in this primary. 

He added: “We’ve got to give voters credit. They’re smarter than you think. Trying to manipulate only goes so far.”



In 2010, Trimpa was among a group of Democrats who ran TV ads to block then-U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis from securing the GOP gubernatorial nomination. The plan worked, as voters advanced tea party Republican and entrepreneur Dan Maes to the general election, where he lost to Democrat John Hickenlooper.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.


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