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Is Governor Hickenlooper A ‘Vulnerable’ Candidate?

John Schoenwalter
The Colorado Statesman
Gov. Hickenlooper addresses supporters of Amendment 66 Tuesday night after results show the ballot measure losing by a large margin. It is a rare loss for Hickenlooper, and Republicans are hopeful it’s a sign of his political future next year.";

The 2013 election is over, but the stunning defeat of Amendment 66 last Tuesday may impact Governor Hickenlooper’s re-election bid in 2014.

Republicans point to the loss and the successful recalls of Democratic Senators Angela Grion and John Morse as just one of many setbacks faced by the Governor this year as he seeks a second term.

Interview Highlights

The recalls and the loss of Amendment 66 will surely be a part of the GOP effort to unseat the Governor in 2014, but is he a vulnerable candidate?

“Well, it’s interesting, because I think six months ago most Republicans would probably privately, say that he’s not vulnerable but I think perhaps the shine is off his political armor. He’s not only had losses with the tax hike from last week, but he also had two recalls and he’s also dealing with the Nathan Dunlap decision as well as the doubling of renewable energy standards for the rural communities which they’re very much against.”

Those standards were often cited by rural residents backing a secession vote in much of northeastern Colorado. Should Democrats be worried about the backlash from residents over what they say is a disconnect between Hickenlooper and rural Colorado?


“I do think that the Governor has probably learned a little bit more vocally from these people that rural residents do matter in the state and that it’s not just Denver that should be making all the rules and regulations. And I think what you’ll see in the legislature come January are some bills that are perhaps more favorable to some of the agricultural communities and rural residents around the state and make it more palatable to support the Governor.”

Republicans talk about the Governor being vulnerable. But what about the GOP? The party has now has five declared candidates and its primary election isn’t until next June.

“There are five candidates including former Congressman Tom Tancredo, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Senator Greg Brophy and former Senator Mike Kopp who have joined Steve House (Adams County GOP Chair who joined the race on 11/11/13). And I think the Republicans feel that a primary probably is helpful against someone with such high name ID. They all have their different tact’s – but as you said no one is united behind one candidate and that could be problematic as Republicans go into the primary which is early next year in June. So that fact could actually help out because they’ll have longer time to campaign against Hickenlooper for the general election.”

Jody Hope Strogoff is the publisher of the Colorado Statesman.

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