Last weekend Colorado Republicans held their State Assembly in Greenwood Village to gear up for an ever more closely contested election to be held in November. The Assembly showed just how strongly the Republican Party backs current U.S. House Representative Cory Gardner within state ranks as their candidate for the available Colorado seat in the Senate. The seat was once thought to be safely within the grasp of incumbent Democrat Mark Udall. It now appears the seat is his to lose.
The Republicans also used their assembly to show a newer, high-tech side, launching the “What’s Your Story” campaign on social media. The campaign is an attempt to show the party’s tech-savvy side; something once thought to be a bit of an oxymoron.
Colorado has been considered a key battleground state since the presidential election of 2008 but it is a sentiment that was beginning to show shades as early as the elections of 2000. The reason: a cross-cultural, cross-economic demographic where just about every issue from immigration to renewable energy to agriculture to urban challenges found in a relatively small population. As of late, the Democratic Party has had the upper hand, largely due to an influx of urban professionals from out-of-state and the party’s ability to reach out to minorities and younger voters via social media.
Attendees to the 2014 Colorado State Assembly were encouraged to take pictures and post status updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hash tag #IVOTEREPUBLICAN to show their support for the Republican Party and senate candidate Cory Gardner. The images were then displayed on screens throughout the assembly. By the assembly’s end over 1.8 million impressions were generated by the “What’s Your Story” campaign, a number far exceeding expectations. Among them were snowboarders, local celebrities, and immigrants.
“Coloradans from all walks of life vote Republican. We have to do a better job of explaining what the Republican Party stands for,” Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call said. “We’re not going to let Senator Mark Udall and his out-of-state special interests define who we are.”
At this point the Democratic Party’s only response in Colorado has been to question or attack Republican candidates and their views in standard mud-slinging fashion, claiming candidate Gardner will do or say anything to win over voters. Without any other significant movement or effort to date, other than a second-rate, Rocky-type montage video of incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper riding a bicycle to work, many local Democrats are wondering, “When are we going to take this election seriously?”
Active Democrats nationwide are fighting complacency throughout the ranks, especially in Colorado. The Republican Party has already had their state assembly in Colorado and clearly backs their candidate in Cory Gardner, making June’s primary almost unnecessary. Such focus and organization in the opposition’s camp should alarm state Democrats, who have seen a relative evening-out in recent polls. As of yet, no alarm has been sounded. In January it was believed the election would be a shoo-in for the Democrats. If these trends keep up, they may find themselves behind the Republican Party in November, with the only response being preparation for the 2016 election.
By Joseph Porter