Colorado GOP Reckons With Increased Dem Dominance in Ex-Swing State

  • Colorado Republicans are reckoning with an increasingly Democratic tint of the Western state.
  • Democrats have held the Governor’s Mansion since 2007 and hold both of the state’s Senate seats.
  • Republicans lost the Colorado Springs mayoralty this week, a stunning blow for the state party.

For decades, Colorado had been a reliably conservative Western state, backing Republican presidential nominees from 1968 to 2004, except for Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory over then-President George H.W. Bush.

But Democrats gained a strong foothold in the state beginning in the 2000s, capturing the Governor’s Mansion in 2006 after years of GOP dominance on the state level. The party hasn’t ceded the governorship since.

On the presidential level, Democrats have won every contest since then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama captured the state in 2008, with now-President Joe Biden winning the state in a 13.5-point landslide over former President Donald Trump in 2022.

Last year, Gov. Jared Polis was easily reelected, while incumbents like Rep. Lauren Boebert, who represents a GOP-leaning district, was nearly unseated.

But one of the most troubling signs for the GOP? Independent candidate Yemi Mobolade easily defeated former Colorado Republican Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams in a May 16 runoff election for the mayoralty of Colorado Springs, a longtime conservative stronghold.

With a narrow GOP US House majority on the line in next year, and Democrats looking to bolster their strength in Colorado, Republicans now face a major dilemma as they seek to regain leverage in a state that not too long ago backed many of their candidates.

Last year, Republicans thought Joe O’Dea would be sort of independent-minded candidate who would be competitive with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, whom the GOP generally didn’t see as a strong incumbent.

However, Bennet went on to defeat O’Dea by 15 points, a winning margin that many polls did not predict.

Republicans point to Colorado’s recent move from battleground state to Democratic-leaning stronghold as one of growth, as many younger residents and ex-Californians have moved to the Denver metropolitan area in droves.

“I think it’s literally demographics are the hugest reason why Colorado is shifting more blue. The people moving into our state are by and large more liberal, and the people leaving our state are by and large, more conservative,” former state Republican chair Kristi Burton Brown recently told The Hill.

“I think if either party were able to bring back more basic respect in politics and a positive vision that moves people forward instead of always just saying what people are angry about, that could draw younger people, I think, to a party,” she said.

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