The Democrats are positively giddy over their prospects in Colorado, but should they be?
There has been no polling in Colorado.
Mark Udall, as his own allies frequently write, is significantly to the left of both Bill Ritter and Ken Salazar. Both men are themselves relatively far left, though they owned the center thanks to some clever, but biased reporting by the Denver Post. One of the reasons we established the "Mark Udall is not a moderate" scoreboard is to keep the Denver Post more honest this time, if that is possible. The Post will also find itself somewhat neutralized by a Rocky Mountain News staff that got snookered by Bill Ritter and endorsed him. Don't expect it to endorse Mark Udall.
Both Ritter and Salazar were helped mightily when self styled "values voters" in the Republican party stayed home as volunteers, as contributors, and as voters. That won't happen this time.
Colorado Republicans enjoy a sizable registration advantage. The legislature is lopsidedly Democrat but the Democrats didn't get more total votes at the legislative level. Republicans did. It is lopsided (41R, 59D) as a direct result of Republican infighting and severe Democrat Gerrymandering. US Senate seats are immune from Gerrymandering. Unfortunately, the usual suspects who love infighting regardless of its impact on the party are hard at work in the 5th CD and may go after State Rep. Al White.
A very clever campaign finance amendment handicapped Republicans at the state level and allowed out of state unions and four Democrat millionaires to buy the legislative elections. It is harder to do that at the Federal level, although the millionaires will try.
It isn't clear that the Iraq war will be the festering sore that Democrats like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are trying to make it.
In the blogosphere, Republican bloggers were neutral after Marc Holtzman dropped out-they had supported Holtzman. At least one nominally Republican blogger actively worked against Bob Beauprez in the general election. It is reasonably clear that neither of those situations will be repeated.
This blog neutrality left the funded left wing sites free to hector the media without response. That won't happen this year. In fact, the Republican bloggers will have an advantage if they choose to exploit it-they do what they do out of conviction. All major Democrat bloggers receive significant outside funding.
Colorado Media Matters has developed a nasty habit of trying to chase Republicans who express an opinion out of the media by claiming that their opinions are lies. PlagiarismNowAction appears to have directly copied three paragraphs of the Wikipedia Scott McInnis entry word for word. They only slightly modified a fourth paragraph and claimed that what they wrote was the result months of research. The Wikipedia article was written by a prolific Belgian Lawyer and to be certain that he could have been the author, we did an Internet search. It took 30 minutes to find his sources, not months. Wendy Norris has her own problems as we pointed out last night. If Tim Gill is funding all three operations, he is not going to get his money's worth in 2008.
The 2004 and 2006 election cycles were a perfect storm. Both Ken Salazar and Bill Ritter can thank it and divisive Republican primaries for their current offices. Very little of that storm is reproducible for Mark Udall, except in the 5th CD which could be pivotal.
Mark Udall is leery of the gift that the national Democrats will leave him when they hold their convention in Denver this year. Yet outsiders see it as nothing but positive for him. Colorado isn't a blue state. It isn't even a purple state. While Coloradoans will go out of their way to be hospitable, most will view the inevitable pro-defeat candidate that emerges with skepticism.
And yet, when we go to the left wing Senate prognostication sites, they seem to know none of this. They claim that Schaffer was the last choice of the RSCC. They would be better off assuming that the RSCC cleared the field for Schaffer. They have no facts so they read and repeat each other's misinformation, sometimes word for word. Invariably, they list Colorado as the most certain Democratic pickup, and to seal the deal (or show their contempt), they almost as invariably call Bob Schaffer a name, sometimes an obnoxious name, as though that will help Mark Udall.
Make no mistake, the Colorado Senate seat will be competitive. If the leftys are this far off in Colorado, how can any of their predictions be believed?