Congratulations to the new leadership of the Denver Republican Party, Danny Stroud as Chairman, Michelle Lyng, Jeff Krump, and Pauline Olvera as Vice Chairmen, and Brett Moore as Secretary. I had the chance to get to know them all during the last two election cycles, and they all bring unmistakable strengths to their new roles. Today, we also elected new District Captains (or re-elected current ones). I wonder if this new leadership understands exactly how important it can be.
This cycle, the only statewide election will be for Presidential electors. If we start by applying the new electoral votes to the states that Obama and McCain won in 2008, the Democrats start with a 359-179 lead. But while pretty much any state that went red is likely to stay that way, it’s reasonable to bet that Florida (29 EV, Obama by 3), North Carolina (15 EV, Obama by 0.32%), Virginia (13 EV, Obama by 6, but having gone hard R in the interval), Ohio (18 EV, Obama by 5, also hard R in the interval), and Indiana (11 EV, Obama by 1, Republican since Lincoln) will return to the Republican fold. Should that happen, and should the voters in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district regain their senses, the Dems have a 272-266 lead.
Of the states with the chance to flip back, Obama won New Hampshire by 10, and despite big wins in the US Senate race, the US House, and the state legislature, re-elected a popular Democrat governor.
Next on the list – you guessed it – Colorado. Obama won 53-46, but the failure to capture the Senate seat should rightly be seen as a failure of the candidate. Republicans took three other statewide offices. And did so because their candidates won 30% of the vote (or close to it) in Denver. Which means, that Colorado could be the battleground state par excellence in 2012, and Denver’s turnout will be critical.
Truthfully, two years before the election, we really don’t know where the battleground states will be. Those will be determined by the issues of the day, the state of the economy, possibly by our foreign policy position, as well as the relative strengths of party organizations, the Republican nominee, and what statewide elections and ballot initiatives are going on around the country. It would be a little presumptuous to believe that Denver will be the center of the national political universe.
But it’s not impossible.