Jared Polis Will Win Governor’s Race by Double Digits

We don’t yet know the final vote tally from the 2018 election in Colorado, but the numbers continue to grow for Democrats. Check out these totals as of 4:00 pm on Monday (Nov. 12):

The race for Governor was called in favor of Democrat Jared Polis early on Election Night, but Polis’ margin of victory over Republican Walker Stapleton has only risen as more ballots are counted. Also worth noting: Stapleton received the fewest total votes of any of the four major statewide Republican candidates.

And for the record, we called this outcome in our pre-election forecast:

A double-digit Polis win is now a real possibility.

These vote totals should also scare the crap out of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is up for re-election in 2020. Gardner defeated Democrat Mark Udall by less than two points in 2014 with a total vote count of 965,974. In 2018, the Republican candidate for Governor received nearly 100,000 more votes than Gardner’s 2014 total…and will still end up losing to a Democrat by more than 10 points.

37 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    "Polis’ margin of victory over Republican Walker Stapleton has only risen as more ballots are counted".

    You mean the used-to-be incompetent Colorado Dimocrats have finally learned how to improve their vote totals?

    Moddy should not have poked the bear.

  2. davebarnes says:

    Not enough. Colorado can do better.

    "California Democrats have regained a veto-proof two-thirds majority in the state legislature, thanks to late ballots awarding them victories in several key races."

    There is no "good" GOP. It needs to die.

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Who do the Colorado Democrats know with the ability to throw $20-25 million into a Senate race? I'm figuring we've got a successful model for winning, why tamper with it?

  4. vertigo700 says:

    Also Jason Crow won by more than 11 percent against Mike Coffman, which is actually better than Scott Tipton did over Diane Mitsch Bush. CD-6 is in Dem control until the next redistricting for sure. 

    • Early Worm says:

      Sure seems like when the next redistricting is done, Colorado will have 8 representatives: 4 of which will be solid D (Denver, Boulder, and (2) Denver suburbs), 2 solid R, (Colo. Springs and Eastern Plains), and 2 toss ups (some combination of mountains/Western slope, Southern Colo. and Northern Colo.)

      • ParkHill says:

        The population of Colorado is 5.68 million, which means 8 districts would each have about 710K people. This won't change too much by 2020 years, but it is interesting to note the increasing dominance of urban population areas.

        Due to front range growth,  it will be hard to create counties with more than marginal rural presence, maybe Weld and Grand Junction-Pueblo have enough population to anchor a district – to half anyway. (With North metro growth, Weld is increasingly urban/suburban anyway.)

        Looking at county populations, Denver, El Paso, Arapaho, Jefferson+ and Adams+ will be their own districts. The next 2 districts will also be some combination of two counties plus filler. Do you keep Boulder with Larimer and have Weld reach South, or do you combine Larimer & Weld, and have Boulder reach West?

        Here are the biggest counties by population; below Mesa county you have little more than filler for other districts:

        704,621    Denver
        699,232    El Paso
        643,052    Arapahoe
        574,613    Jefferson
        503,167    Adams
        343,976    Larimer
        335,299    Douglas
        322,514    Boulder
        304,633    Weld
        166,475    Pueblo
        151,616    Mesa
        68,341    Broomfield
        59,118    Garfield
        55,589    La Plata
        54,772    Eagle
        47,559    Fremont
        41,784    Montrose
        30,585    Summit
        30,568    Delta
        28,192    Morgan
        26,140    Montezuma
        25,642    Elbert
        25,220    Routt
        24,646    Teller
        21,896    Logan
        19,638    Chaffee


        • ParkHill says:

          The short of it is, the new, 8th district has to be urban/suburban, meaning that rural Colorado will have voting influence in only a couple districts, and probably a minority presence within each of those.

          The Republican geographic-demography that succeeded for Trump nationally has collapsed in Colorado. That goes a long way to explaining why the Democrats swept state-wide seats, and gained the trifecta.

          These same trends exist to a greater or lesser extend in other Western states like Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Arizona. Texas is also increasingly urban. (TX will gain two seats after 2020, which will also have to be urban-suburban.)

          • mamajama55 says:

            Colorado started trending blue in 2013, with the passage of HB1303 (thanks, Sen Giron and Reps Hullinghorst and Pabon!) when mail ballots came in. Even though Gessler, Williams, and all of the R Sec States pissed and moaned about how all mail elections would bring on rampant voter fraud, it turns out that Republicans love mail in ballots, too.

            Nevertheless, more voters and easier voting means more Democrats voting – hence blue elections.

             We in the red counties are a slightly lighter shade of red now (smaller R margins) with more young people, Latinos, and refugees becoming citizens and voting. Unpopularity of Trump helped fade that red hue, too.

            Unfortunately for us,  it meant that Democrats on the eastern plains helped assure the statewide candidates' victories; however, we could not elect some very worthy local legislative candidates like McCall and Gustafson. We're stuck with Sonnenberg, Decker, and the like out here in the Beets and the Wheats.

            Getting an 8th seat is good news, though. I think they (the new redistricting commission) should carve off parts of CD3 and CD4 for the 8th seat.   Both are godawful huge and hard for low-dollar candidates to compete in.

            Maybe dilute CD5 with some collitch libruls and front-range LBGTQ -proud folks so that they don't keep electing embarrassments  like Lamborn.

          • ParkHill says:

            Grab a glass of wine, and play. I wish there was a button to add an additional seat.

            7 Colorado districts compactly following county boundaries.

          • notaskinnycook says:

            It'll be interesting to see where Colorado poaches that 8th seat from. Which state is losing the most people? Calfornia?

            • deathpigeon says:

              By percentage, according to Wikipedia, West Virginia is losing the most people with a drop of 2.01% since 2010. The only other two states losing population, Vermont and Illinois, are losing by less than 1%.

            • DENependent says:

              We are getting it from Minnesota. Often the math is not clear about where a seat is "came from", but in this case we passed Minnesota in population in the last decade and Minnesota is losing one seat.

              Under most population projections New York is losing two seats. California is gaining one (all the talk of California losing population is Republican wishful thinking).

              Point me to a population projection for 2020 and I can put the numbers in my House Seat Spreadsheet. The math is not hard using a spreadsheet. The problem is the accuracy of the population projections.

              • notaskinnycook says:

                Thanks, DEN. I know it's not usually clear. Committees start with a blank map and carve and chisel and gerrymander until there are 425 districts approximately equal in population.  

                • DENependent says:

                  435 seats. And the math is totally fair and has been used since 1940.

                  The states are all assigned one seat. Then the formula is used to figure out which state is most misrepresented by this, the state with the highest ratio of population to representation. So California gets the 51st seat. Then do that ratio again and see which state gets seat 52. Repeat until all 435 seats are assigned.

                  The only reason where a seat came from or went to is not clear is because you have to play alternate history games. “What if Texas did not grow so fast. Who kept a seat then?” Doing that brings up assumptions about why population is growing or not in different places. So… complex.

                  Why 435? Well because it is not even so no deadlocks. Also it is evenly divided by 3 for easy math when a 2/3 majority is needed and an accident of history because that is where Congress stopped adding seats.

                  The assigning of seats is 100% fair. The problem comes afterwards when the states figure out how to carve up their own population into districts. Weirdly enough some states used to sidestep this by electing all their representatives at large. Nothing in the constitution says anything about districts. States just have to avoid violating “one man, one vote” too badly.

                  • notaskinnycook says:

                    Oops, Of course, it's 435. I had a little brain hiccup there.

                  • Nothing in the Constitution, but IIRC Federal law requires single-member districts now. Like the limit of 435, at-large prohibitions are strictly arbitrary (or not-so-arbitrary) Congressional decisions.

                    • DENependent says:

                      You are correct. I had thought the practice was just gradually abandoned, but apparently it was repealed by congress in 1967.

                      A bit disappointing to me since I think it would be a useful experiment for some states to try proportional representation instead of districts. Ah well.

                    • Davie says:

                      The New York Time had a fascinating article discussing this issue.  They suggested a revamped formula of simply the cube root of a country's population.

                      By the founders’ own standards, the House could now hold nearly 11,000 members. That’s obviously too many to function. What about returning to the average district size of 1911? That would require more than 1,600 members — still probably too big.

                      There’s a better solution, which involves bringing America into line with other mature democracies, where national legislatures naturally conform to a clear pattern: Their size is roughly the cube root of the country’s population. 

                      Applying that law to America’s estimated population in 2020 would expand the House to 593 members, after subtracting the 100 members of the Senate.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          I think Larimer and Weld would be a good combination.

          • ParkHill says:

            I kind of agree. That accepts that you'll be splitting rural Eastern plains, and also the two University towns. I think it makes some sense to avoid a huge, sprawling district, but it dilutes rural even more; maybe you can't avoid it.

            So, Boulder adds Broomfield and what? You'd have to split Jefferson or Adams. Or else Adams adds Broomfield…

            See what I mean about how you rotate the donut?

            • notaskinnycook says:

              Diluting the rural counties by reapportionment doesn't hurt my feelings one bit. The hinterlands ran the statehouse for a very long time and treated Denver (the only "big city”; then), like a red-headed stepchild.

              • Duke Cox says:

                I am with you on that, skinny. I get very tired of listening to the bellyaching of a bunch of entitled ranchers and farmers.

                I think it would be great if we could gerrymander Boulder into CD3…That would be fun. 

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          We need a redistricting plan that gerrymanders Doug Lamborn into oblivion.

  5. ohwilleke says:

    The notable thing about the numbers is how much better Polis did relative to Stapleton than candidates in other races where basic partisan inclination matters more and most voters know less about the candidates.

    About 3% of voters could stomach a generic R but not Walker Stapleton.

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