Pretty Thin Primary Ballot for Denver Democrats

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, right, is backing Alec Garnett as his successor in HD-2.

Alec Garnett (left) and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino.

Denver Democrats are used to Primary Election evenings that are about as suspenseful as waiting to hear the name of the Broncos' starting quarterback, but this year is even quieter than most. The only real Primary race in Denver is in HD-2, where Alec Garnett and Owen Perkins are running to succeed the term-limited House Speaker Mark Ferrandino.

Most Denver races are decided in a Primary because of the overwhelming voter advantage for Democrats, and once someone gets elected for the first time, they tend to go unchallenged as long as they don't make any unusual mistakes. Since a Republican has virtually no chance to pull a General Election upset, any aspiring candidates in Denver must bide their time until term limits re-open the field. In cities such as Denver and Colorado Springs (the latter being overwhelmingly Republican), it has become something of a paradox that it often takes more time and effort to win a Primary even though you are courting a significantly smaller number of likely voters. For example, candidates have been actively campaigningin HD-2  for more than a year; this is quite a contrast to a more competitive House District such as Lakewood's HD-23, where Republicans have only had a candidate in place for a few weeks. This happens, of course, because more candidates are realizing that consolidating support early can leave your opponent few places to turn once the ballots finally start to drop. Call it the Perception Primary — the campaign inside the campaign.

There is a great example of this happening in HD-2, where Garnett has run an exceptional race thus far. Garnett faces Perkins in a two-person race that narrowed when Aaron Silverstein failed to make the ballot threshold requirement through the caucus process. To date, Garnett has been the most proficient fundraiser of any State House candidate in Colorado, and he has deftly maneuvered to pick up critical endorsements at key points in the race (including Rep. Ferrandino's endorsement in February). Last week, Garnett announced the support of former Gov. Bill Ritter and current State Rep. Daniel Kagan, two excellent endorsements to add to your list just before ballots begin to go in the mail. 

Weird things can, and do, happen in Primary Elections, so there's no guarantee that Garnett's efforts will be rewarded when ballots are counted. But if you were a betting man (or woman), you'd have trouble finding a candidate with stronger odds next month.


6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. kwtreemamajama55 says:

    In HD 47 in Pueblo, we have two political newcomers, Lucretia Robinson, and Terrance Hestead, running against each other on the Democratic side. Incumbent  candidate Rep. Clarice Navarro will run on the Republican side.

    Navarro is known for, among other things, her cheap ballot tricks – She claimed widespread voter fraud exists in Pueblo County because she registered under two names, and, Doh! received two ballots.

    I live in HD47 now, and met Navarro-Ratzlaff at the GOP Marks event. Although I identified myself as one of her constituents, she didn't make nice, didn't ask me what my "issues" were – apparently, she writes off Dems.I hope that she continues to do this, as it makes her a weaker candidate in this district.

    Of the two Democratic contenders, I prefer Lucretia Robinson – as a former corrections officer, she should be well equipped to deal with intimidating bragsters and cheap ballot tricksters at the Colorado Legislature.


  2. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    HD2 is my house. Garnett has worked incredibly hard to get this seat. Silverstein did his best but it wasn't quite enough. I think Perkins thinks he's got it made by virtue of having served as Denver County Party secretary and sending out a couple off pieces of lit. I hope he goes right on thinking that. I have yet to to see him doing one step of canvassing in the district, where as Alec is out constantly, wearing out his shoes. Having Mark's endorsment goes a long way, too.

    • Not Dame Edna says:

      You have certainly drank the Garnett koolaid. Owen is definetly the hardest working candidate and a real Progressive. Owen's biggest problem is that he has ticked off the Party Establishment.

      Alec seems like a nice guy but I have not seen him do anything serious. Owen has organized and hosted several very interesting forums ranging from the issues of education to health care. Guess you missed those things.

      I don't live in HD2 so I have no horse in this race, you are lucky to have 2 strong candidates. I just think Owen is the strongest.

  3. sporobolus says:

    if only Garnett had much of a platform; "activating youth" is buzzword compliant, and he appears to be ambitious, but it's Perkins who's on the street and who has real experience with the local issues; after Ferrandino, i'd like to have a real progressive, rather than another centrist, in HD2


  4. Elijah Rock says:

    According to info provided at several HD2 meetings, the house district Garnett and Perkins are vying to represent is the youngest (by average age) house district in the state. While I am on the older side of that equation, my vote goes to Garnett. His age and politics (focus on early childhood education and reducing the debt of recent college grads) are more in tune with the area than his opponent. 

  5. gulliver says:

    I beg to differ on Garnett edcuation creds, in light of his PAC endorsements, anti-teacher, anti-public school. Check the origin of any of the glossy insubstantial postcards sent on his behalf.

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