The Debut of the The Big Line: 2014

Every 10 years Colorado is without a high-profile statewide election (U.S. Senate, Governor, AG, Treasurer, Sec. of State), and we’re damn glad to see that election cycle in our rear-view mirror. That’s five whole races that we couldn’t pontificate about in the 2012 cycle.

Take a look at left to see the first version of The Big Line: 2014. The first new Big Line of the cycle is usually more question than answer, but steady losses by Republicans in 2010 and 2012 have narrowed down considerably the list of potential 2014 candidates.  

Click after the jump for a brief rundown of the who and why in The Big Line: 2014.

U.S. Senate

If timing is everything in politics, Democrat Mark Udall is Exhibit A. Udall had a relatively easy campaign in 2008, pulling ahead of Republican Bob Schaffer early enough that the NRSC never spent much money trying to bloody Udall through negative ads. As a result, Senator Udall enters 2014 without any lingering campaign wounds. Meanwhile, Colorado Republicans are reeling from dismal losses in 2010 and 2012, which leaves no obvious challenger for Udall in 2014. Put it this way: the GOP name most frequently mentioned is Bob “Both Ways” Beauprez, a man whose 2006 campaign for Governor was widely considered the worst in Colorado history.


A lot can change in two years, but it would take a blunder of historical proportion for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper to not get re-elected in 2014. Keep this in mind when you see Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler as the top name for Republicans; Gessler may have a clear path to the GOP nomination because nobody else will even try. Gessler understands that he would have a hard time getting re-elected as SOS in 2014, so if he’s going to run a statewide race, it might as well be for the best prize available.

Attorney General

This may end up as the most interesting race in 2014. Democrats have a wealth of strong potential candidates, led by Boulder County D.A. Stan Garnett and State Sen. Morgan Carroll. Adams County D.A. Don Quick has long been rumored as a candidate, but he passed on running for AG one too many times and won’t be courted be Democrats. On the Republican side, 2010 Senate candidate and Weld County D.A. Ken Buck is really the best candidate the GOP can offer in 2014; don’t be surprised if he ends up running for Senate instead (just a hunch).


There hasn’t been much talk about potential Democrats to challenge incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton, but don’t read too much into that. The silence on this seat has more to do with the office than the incumbent; there’s no child in Colorado dreaming of one day becoming State Treasurer. This office is no longer the prize that it was 10-20 years ago, when both Roy Romer and Bill Owens used the office as a springboard to Governor. With the advent of the Intertubes, potential candidates for Governor don’t need a statewide run to get their name out in advance of a bid for Governor. Democrats will almost certainly find a good candidate here — it’s just not at the top of anyone’s list.

Secretary of State

The incumbent Gessler will likely run for Governor instead of re-election, and there are already two other candidates looking at SOS. For the Democrats, it’s CU Regent Joe Neguse. Republicans will put up Pam Anderson (no, not that one), a well-respected two-term Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County. Anderson will be helped by her mother-in-law, longtime GOP legislator Norma Anderson, and her name ID in Jefferson will pay huge dividends (it’s virtually impossible to win a statewide race without winning Jefferson County).


Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is safe unless he angers the Tea Party enough that a credible Primary challenger emerges. The only reason we’re writing about Gardner in this space is because he is often mentioned as a potential GOP contender for U.S. Senate or Governor. Gardner’s name comes up so often only because Republicans have nobody else on their bench, and we’d be very surprised if he did anything other than run for re-election. Gardner has a good seat from which he can grow his influence and name ID for higher office, but the timing isn’t right. He’s not going to give up his seat for a run against Udall or Hickenlooper, where he’d be a heavy underdog. Gardner saw how the political career of former CD-4 Rep. Bob Schaffer never recovered after Schaffer kept his term limits pledge and declined to run for re-election in 2002; Schaffer gave up his seat before he had built a strong enough machine for higher office, and Gardner won’t make the same mistake.


The 2012 election cycle proved that six of Colorado’s Congressional Districts are essentially out of play, with CD-6 the only seat that either party could claim. The new boundaries of CD-6 should make it a toss-up for the next decade, and incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is only still here because Democrat Joe Miklosi was a bad candidate with a bad campaign. Coffman won’t be so lucky in 2014, and he may end up running for U.S. Senate instead.

40 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. caroman says:

    Several years ago she said she didn’t like Congress because they don’t have single-issue legislation rules, or something like that.  She would be fun to campaign for.

    So would that other Carroll — Terrance.  What say you former House Speaker?

  2. Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

    Tancredo.  I think the move toward moderation in the GOP will push him off the sidelines.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see him run for Governor or Senator

  3. Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

    Joe would be a fine candidate, but there are a host of D names floating around on this one.

  4. thagaycowboy says:

    But it’s a fantasy to think she could win a statewide race.

    First of all, in every second term midterm in Presidential history–with the exception of 1998–the opposition party has had a considerable advantage.This coupled with the fact that young people, latinos, african americans, and other members of the Obama coalition turn out in lower numbers during midterms means that Dems will not be the shoo-ins you all project them to be.

    Furthermore, both Troy Eid and Cynthia Coffman are considering runs for AG.

    Morgan is simply too far left to win in Colorado, I see the races breaking down like this :

    Carroll vs. Buck 50-50, Carroll vs. Coffman 42-58, Carroll vs. Eid 45-55

    Garnett vs. Buck 55-45, Garnett vs. Coffman 45-55, Garnett vs. Eid 50-50

    Quick vs. Buck 60-40, Quick vs. Coffman 50-50, Quick vs. Eid 50-50

    The two serious contenders are Quick and Garnett. Quick has more connections and is a much easier sell in a general election, Garnett toes the party line and has more money. If anything, Stan should worry about Morgan jumping into the race and splitting his vote. Even if DQ doesn’t win, don’t count John Walsh (the US Attorney) or Mike Carrigan  (CU Regent) out. The law enforcement establishment won’t just let Stan walk away with the nomination.

    Also, Bob Schaffer is looking for a comeback. Maybe he will primary Gessler for Gov? It doesn’t seem to matter though.

    The marquee races seem to be AG and SoS. I wonder if Joe could really go toe to toe with Pam Anderson. Will Dems look for a more seasoned campaigner?  

  5. Littletonian says:

    recent statewide trends dictate that incumbents will be reelected unless they’ve committed a memorable, egregious mistake that exposes some damning flaw in their leadership. Among the slate of 2014 incumbents, only Gessler qualifies.

    So I think the remaining incumbents are prohibitive favorites if they are content to remain in their current offices. I wouldn’t wager against Udall, Hickenlooper, Stapleton, DeGette, Polis, Tipton, Gardner, Lamborn, Coffman (if he remains in CD-6), or Perlmutter. I’d also consider Pam Anderson to be the favorite for SoS if she’s the GOP nominee.

    Also, I’m assuming that Suthers is term-limited? I don’t remember how term limits work for the AG.

  6. Albert J. Nock says:

    You know Gessler is damaged goods, this is why you are trying to brainwash Republicans into nominating him.

  7. RavenDawg says:

    What about lines for State House and Senate majorities?

  8. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    My CongressCritter in CD-1 at 3-2!

    No way.


    And Douchebag Doug in CD-5


    What planet do you people live on?

  9. The realistThe realist says:

    without mentioning a northwest Colorado legislator who has been telling people for two years that he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2014? And that he’s been traveling around the state getting ready for a run.  His run for the State Senate this year was apparently to just keep himself visible for his 2014 run.  

  10. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    anybody hearing anything.   She’s now CFO for Mayor Hancock in Denver.

  11. ScottP says:

    If Gessler is the best the GOP has to run against Hick then they might as well just pack up their things and give up.

    At least find someone who people could say “He isn’t quite Governor material yet, but he could be a good…”

  12. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    Wo! Looks like DeGette has her work cut out for her again. She’d better get hustlin’.

  13. AlanR says:

    Both Udall and Hickenlooper have more to worry about from their bases then they do from the Republicans.   Hickenlooper has burned a lot of bridges with his pro oil industry fracking law suit against the City of Longmont.    Both may need to hope for a very weak and scary opponent so that the progressives don’t just sit on their hands.

    Gessler and Beauprez,  might just be their tickets.

  14. Dan WillisDan Willis says:

    I’m not sure what a foor is, but if he’s gonna fit it in his mouth, he needs to remove his foot first.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.