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January 11, 2010 08:23 PM UTC

Republicans Fret Over Hickenlooper Run

  • 95 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Denver Post reports that the last of the big three candidates besides Hickenlooper–Rep. Ed Perlmutter–will not enter the gubernatorial race. Perlmutter may be pulling his name out of the mix in advance of a Hickenlooper announcement, as many politicians do so as not to look like a second choice. If for some reason Hickenlooper does not run, the most discussed (and strongest) candidates for Democrats are Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Rep. Betsy Markey and former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. We’d be surprised, however, if Hickenlooper is not the Democratic candidate at this point.

While no public decision has been made as of yet regarding the race for Governor, Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams seems to think that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will be the Democratic candidate. We’ve written before that we think Hickenlooper will eventually enter the race, and the state GOP is already trying to get out in front of any potential announcement.

In a press release sent out today, Wadhams calls Hickenlooper “Hickenritter” and speculates that Hick would be identical to Gov. Bill Ritter in several ways. Republicans are obviously concerned about a potential Hickenlooper candidacy, because when he was passed over for Michael Bennet when the latter was appointed to the U.S. Senate last year, they openly stated that Hick would have been tough to defeat in 2010.

From former Rep. Bob Beauprez in The Colorado Statesman last February:

I’m guessing John Hickenlooper has name ID that rivals the governor’s, maybe exceeds the governor’s. I’m guessing that John Hickenlooper has 4:1 favorable/unfavorables statewide. There isn’t enough money in the world to peel that down to 1:1 – to where you could maybe beat him.

John Hickenlooper could claim – he won’t do it because he’s got enough humility to not do it – but he could claim that the DNC was successful in large part because of his efforts to raise the money. He not only has a Rolodex with names in it, they are successful names.

John could raise more money and be more easily elected. His appointment would have taken that seat almost completely off the table. I don’t know what John could have done to make it truly competitive. [Pols emphasis]

Here’s what Wadhams had to say about Hickenlooper in December 2008, when Hick was being considered as a replacement in the U.S. Senate for Ken Salazar:

Dick Wadhams, the state GOP chairman, conceded that Hickenlooper “is immensely popular as the mayor of Denver” but said “he’ll look a lot different after two years of votes in the U.S. Senate.”

These two quotes highlight exactly why many observers, including Colorado Pols, see Hickenlooper as such a strong potential candidate. As we wrote in The Big Line, Hickenlooper has great name ID and is a prolific fundraiser, which are probably the two most important qualities you could have as a candidate for statewide office. That doesn’t make him a shoo-in for Governor, but at the very least he would enter the race with an advantage over Republican Scott McInnis on both fronts.

Comments

95 thoughts on “Republicans Fret Over Hickenlooper Run

      1. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter this morning said he would not run for governor, clearing another potential candidate from the Democratic field as the party awaits a decision on whether Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will run.

        “It was flattering that a lot of folks thought of me to run for governor,” said Perlmutter, D-Golden. “The bottom line is I love what I’m doing now.

        Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_1

        1. I can see a Dem ad using the “old” McInnis with the moustache and the “new” McInnis without the moustache attacking him on his career, but stating it is still the same McInnis.

          Not a good idea for the McInnis campaign. Should have stuck with the moustache.

          1. It’ll seem shallow if you make a big deal out of it. It’s the sort of thing that’s better delivered through snarky internet comments and letters to the editor. You could still show what you’re proposing, but let the viewer compare their appearance without bringing it up explicitly.

        2. I think he had the tasche when I first met him in his legilative days.  Political consultants unanimously discourage facial hair, so I guess he’s finally given in.  

            1. Everything I found showed the stache.  

              After more than 20 years of a full beard, I decided last summer to shave mine off because it had turned from Red to White and made me look even older than I am (which is 64).  After a few weeks, I decided being naked faced emphasized my jowls and grew back the stache as a compromise.  But I’m not running for office.  Still, I’m always sad to see the spontaneous man cave in to the political advisors.   But in Scott’s case, I think he actually looks better without the stache.    

          1. I’ve always wondered why exactly it’s such a bad thing to have facial hair.  

            My dad had a big ol’ mustache every day of my life until he shaved it off when I was 23.  It freaked me out when he finally did shave it – it felt like he had irrevocably changed.  Lucky for me, it was a one-time thing and now he’s got his mustache and once again, all is right in the world.  

            Why is this such a big thing for political consultants?  

            1. It’s true that polls and focus groups do not look kindly on facial hair for politicians (or for news anchors, for that matter), but we don’t recall seeing why people are so opposed. There may not be a particular reason – it might just be a preference.

        1. from your own record, it is good to not remind people of who you are.  A little “just for men” can help the disguise.  Wonder if he borrowed Steve King’s perfume and hairspray.

          “The days of McCain and McInnis are over.”   -Don Bain, former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party

          1. Yeah, that hair is significantly blacker. I won’t knock him–I had my hair highlighted over the weekend. But at least people can still recognize me.  

              1. He should skip that “Just for Men” shit and go to a real hair stylist. That over the counter stuff can wreak havoc on your hair. The last thing he wants is to be partially bald and covered with scabs on the campaign trail. That will not be an attractive look for the potential voters.

    1. And I suppose that was the whole point–if he runs against Hickenlooper, he needs to look young and vigorous, not like an exhausted hasbeen.

      Nice, lengthy acknowledgment and props of Josh Penry. Wow.  

      1. is for his magnanimous gesture in making MesaModerates holiday “wish” come true. Truly a guy who thinks about the little people.

        “I wish I didn’t have to support guys like Josh Penry.”  -MesaModerate



        “The days of the Republican Party holing up in a smoke-filled room in the Brown Palace Hotel and picking its nominee are over.”  -Josh Penry

    1. …I guess all the 527’s they’ve lined up against Ritter can now just change a few graphics and the voiceover on the spots they’ve already produced.

  1. So the entire Republican strategy for the Governor’s race was centered around an anti-Ritter message and hopes that Democratic voters wouldn’t turn out. Now that Ritter’s out of the race, they don’t have much time to develop an entirely new strategy. So instead, they are going to try and attack Hickenlooper by using the same Ritter-bashing rhetoric?

    Sounds pretty pathetic to me. If that’s all they’ve got then I think the Dems will be in good shape come November.

  2. I’d like to see him jump in but I’m also grateful he is taking his time making a decision and thinking this through. We don’t need someone jumping in and then jumping out two months later (think Attorney General’s race). And from the way the Republicans are scrambling, I’d really like to see Hickenlooper run.  

    1. long time as he did in 2006.  Back then I was rooting for him to go for Gov for many reasons but in part because it would spare me having to support(and, at the time, talk a lot of leary Dem friends into supporting) an anti-choice candidate. If he decides running again vs getting an appointment is too tough, I would hope Perlmutter would be next. After Salazar’s bowing out, I’ll take a believe it when I see it view of who will actually run.  Clearly, Hick would be best.

      1. It seems like the field is clearing for him and I know what you mean about him making a decision. I don’t want him to wait forever but I do think he decision making so far as has been quite appropriate considering Ritter just dropped out four days ago. There is a whole lot for Hick to consider and I want someone who goes in with both head and heart, not like Dan Slater did with his hiccup of a run for AG.  

        1. I see the Perlmutter drop at the Post site. That would certainly lead one to believe Hick is going to say yes. I honestly don’t have confidence in Romanoff. Not at all sure he is ready for prime time campaigning.  

            1. for mayor but after being considered for a senate seat, an ambassadorship and now talk of his swapping a senate primary for a run at the Gov spot, I bet he and his supporters would consider that small potatoes, beneath their notice.  

              He’s been close to some heady stuff for sure but he is, after all, just a former state legislator who never ran in a district that wasn’t pure safe Dem.  And his recent behavior doesn’t exactly radiate maturity or gravitas.

              Besides, after all of his camp’s bluster about why it’s so-o-o important for him to challenge the incumbent, well funded, similarly centrist, establishment favorite Bennet for the Senate seat, wouldn’t it be a tad awkward to say “never mind” now that there is an opening for governor?  

                  1. Ray, very low blow on the Lt. Gov. statement.  Why don’t we just ask Bennet not to run for Senate and take the Lt. Gov. position?   Ridiculous statement to suggest for either individuals.  Both are brilliant, both well educated and well intentioned, but yet completely different candidates, from different walks of life and vision.  Any person in the race, is already somebody and doesn’t need a vote to validate that.

                    1. It doesn’t looke like a low blow to me.

                      I understand Ray’s frustration and have a sense of the kind of inf. he’s sitting on.

                      Yes, I like Andrew. I think he’d be awesome in a CO executive branch leadership role.  Don’t you?

                    2. (if I ever write a book about campaigning, I’ll address all one zillion).  However, two key things are in play right now:  (1) The absolute requirement that the candidate have a burning desire to run for a particular office and serve in that office if elected; and (2) The landscape in politics can change quickly and often, and those “in the game” need to move quickly with those changes.  If you’re the candidate, you don’t want to change the office you’re aiming for too many times in any particular year.  But, you also need to quickly assess the changing landscape and figure out where you believe you fit in.  So, hold on for the rest of the wild ride!  That’s the long way of answering your question, MADCO – Andrew would be great in a CO Exec Branch leadership role.

                    3. sure.fire in the belly, flexility.  

                      Of course.

                      But there are not a zillion.  unless you’re counting fractions of pennies.

                    4. He openly admits to have sought that job with Ritter and claims  that it kept him out of the Senate race for 6 months.

                      It’s my understanding thaat he has paid for the poll (27k) he did in March out of his campaign contributions.

                      It isn’t a low blow. It’s a suggestion to keep his political career alive.

                      Sen Bennet fully expects to be the 2nd name on the ballot. He’s not a professional politician like Speaker Romanoff. The Speaker’s base is a group of activists.

                      The primary is a different story.

                      NO one in the Speker’s  campaign has given a good reply to how they can raiise 10 million dollars especially with discounting PAC money, or out of state funds.

                      Sec. Ken Salazar didnt do it that way.

                      Sen.Udall didn’t do that way.

                      Odds are good that Speaker Romanoff won’t do that way.  

  3. I for one think Hickenlooper might be vulnerable.  I know Dems in the Denver metro area love him, but I’ve noticed a few things that made me unhappy including the electronic voting problems of 2006 and what I considered poor management of city resources (such as trucks to clear roads) that could have alleviated some of the problems during the back to back blizards of 2006.  However, Hickenlooper appears to have one thing going for him, none of this sort of stuff sticks–it’s like he is coated with teflon and that is definitely an advantage.

    1. and will strongly support him, but I think it is a bit naive to say that the Republicans don’t have a few things that they can toss at him to run up his negatives.  

      First thing I think we’ll see is the, “cover up” (their word, not mine) of the attacks on whites and hispanics by black “gangs” in downtown.  “The mayor put political correctness over public safety.”  The ad practically writes itself.

      1. What I’ll do.  Hick would be a vast improvement over Ritter, and I don’t personally really care for McInnis’ temperament.

        Hick is a likable, honest, hardworking guy and I’ve worked with him on several projects where I was really impressed with him, plus, I like him personally.

        We’ll see what he does, I guess.

        1. Important point not related to politics:  he treats his employees fairly.  He was a good boss when he was in the private sector and that means something to me.

          He is also willing to accept responsibility and isn’t looking for who he can through under the bus.

        2. Remember how quick and severe your buyer’s remorse has been since going for Obama over McSame.  Oh wait, I forgot. The whole Obama thing was just your plan to cause such  destruction the American people would know better than to ever elect a Dem again. Same plan for Colorado?

          1. He’s willing to be honest at cost to him politically.  That concept is antithetical to our President, unfortunately.

            Obama has a laundry list of things he’s gone back on that pissed off both the right and left.  Want me to start listing them.

            Hick is much more believable and honest of a politician than Obama it’s not funny.  

            Maybe that’s the difference for the most part between a local politician and a national one – who knows?

            1. Must keep current on dastardly plots ya know. If you really like Hick, be our guest. We progressives like him, too. Except whe he’s jerking our chain.

          2. Just a few days ago he was telling us how bad it is for D’s that Ritter dropped his reelection run.  Now he is singing Hickenlooper’s praises.

            “The “Progressive” movement is fucking finished.” -Laughing Boy

        3. …if he continues his tradition of “Free Beer if Elected.” His post-mayoral election party set that standard, and I expect him to keep it.

          Maybe the Wynkoop will commission a new beer if he wins – Governlooper Ale?

          1. will have new McInnis material to use at Impulse Theater.  Those guys and gals are hilarious.  Will someone tell them about Scooty’s new “makeover”.

  4. Family is really important to John.

    I used to know his wife fairly well.  Knowing her told me a lot about John even if I hadn’t met him back in those early days.

    Would Romo step to the plate?  He already has a lot of state wide recognition from his legislative days.  

        1. that makes no sense at all.

          Keep thinking it.  Nobody’s gonna hold it against you.

          Once a village idiot, always an idiot.

          I think President Bush called it “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

          You own it, Libby. Make the most of it.

          1. Its easy pickin’s over here, especially with you these days.  Why so sensitive?

            Don’t worry big boy, Hickenlooper will announce by the end of the week.  It will save you from loosing to much face.

    1. To any astute political observer, Markey would be a great choice.  The question really is why hasn’t her name been floated more (I suspect because she is probably not interested.)

      But regardless, take your liberal purity test hat off for a minute and look at the facts.  Markey is an intelligent, hard working, moderate Dem who won a tough Conservative seat by 12 freaking points over a 3-term incumbent.  By all accounts she is well liked and popular in her district, especially with the key Independent/unaffliated demographic.  She has raised a ton of money and has the experience to run and win a tough race statewide.

      She also has a base in Larimer County…in my mind that is going to be key for any statewide Dem going into the next decade.

      And despite the fact that you and JO often like to ignore certain facts about Markey, she’s pro-choice and has been strong with LBGT community.

      She may not run now…but brace yourself, Pam, because you can be assured that she’ll get tapped for statewide office sometime in the future.

      I like Cary Kennedy and I wish the talk about her jumping in would get more serious.  Especially if Hickenlooper is still dithering by week’s end.

        1. find an equally blockbuster candidate, or are they stuck with McInnis? Funny how forcing Penry and Frazier out of the statewide races, not to mention shaming Buck and recruiting Wiens, didn’t wind up making the GOP look any stronger.

  5. In reading the post that quotes both Beauprez and Wadhams as the go to people on who is the most electable in the gubernatorial race in Colorado, I question the validity of the analysis, or lack thereof and subsequent conclusion that Denver Mayor Hickenlooper seems to be the strongest candidate. If I recall correctly, Beauprez lost by 17 points to Ritter in the 2006 gubernatorial race, setting back his political career.  Wadhams only speaks to his popularity in Denver and that was back in December 2008, a lot has change both with the economy and mind you, this was for the U.S. Senate race and not the gubernatorial race.  

    Hickenlooper if he decides to throw his hat in the ring has mostly Front Range name recognition from voters, with some party name support around the state in leadership positions because of his travels and speaking engagements on transportation and the environment.  Hickenlooper can raise money from big business and has talent in the ability to speak to larger corporations seeking taxing exemptions to bring their companies to the state, but little or no name recognition amongst the rural voters of the state.  His quirkiness that has served him so well in Denver might be easily painted over with the non-Front Range voters as another businessman, seeking to buy public office.  

    Personally, I respect Hickenlooper and value his straight forward business approach, but understanding that Colorado outside the Front Range is a completely different animal.  We all know that Western Slope issues vary widely from Eastern Plain issues, as well as the issues important to our neighbors in the more conservative areas of the state.  ColoradoPols once again relies on a few statements by the GOP to support its foregone conclusion.

    The support for Interior Sec. Ken Salazar quickly died early in the week with his pulling his name from the hat, but supporting Hickenlooper.  Interesting how Salazar pulled his name, while at the same time supporting the choice of big business, along with the president.  Does this ring with the pro-business choice that is now emanating from the White House, even those the now residing Pennsylvania Avenue resident so prominently backed away from corporations during his campaign and gladly took monetary support at the grassroots level?  

    The posting additionally throws out the names, Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Representative Betsy Markey and former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, but never critiques their viability or their strong bases of support, but just hands general support to Hickenlooper seemly based on the recommendations of the GOP.  Rep. Perlmutter seems quiet, yet thoughtful in his general statements.  Perlmutter could be an interesting choice because of his ability to build coalitions, but again he is much more a Front Range candidate and like his democratic cohort Hickenlooper, may have difficultly playing to a statewide electorate.  Hopefully in the future, we will see more a detailed analysis, before conclusions are put forth to the readers of ColoradoPols.

  6. Take it for what it’s worth, but both the domain names CassoforGovernor2010.com and CassoforColorado.com were bought today by an associate of the tell-it-like-it-is representative from Commerce City. Any chance Representative Casso enters the race as the labor alternative to the Mayor?    

        1. in case you guys missed it, there is an undercurrent running through D politics at least as fervent as the tea party is on the right, but with no organization and no face, just a crap load of very liberal, agitated, pissed off people.  Not a few of them post here regularly.  Many of those would love to see the D party dynamited from the inside.  So I don’t see why a nasty primary fight from the left — whoever it may come from — is so farfetched.  

          1. There could certainly be a Democratic primary for Governor at some point, but Casso for Governor is just plain silly.

            You can’t go from unknown, unrecognized state representative to governor. If you asked a random Democratic activist to name 10 Dems in the state legislature, nobody outside of his own district would say “Ed Casso.”  

            1. you’re seeing it from everybody else’s POV, not necessarily from Casso POV.  I have no f’ing idea what goes on in his head, but why couldn’t it be challenge for the sake of challenge?

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