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Feeling New Jersey in Colorado

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You might have missed it here because it happened so far away from Colorado, but election victories in several states around the country on Tuesday have Democrats looking ahead to 2006 thirsting for more. What happened in New Jersey and Virginia, where Democrats were elected governor, as well as defeats of several measures proposed in California by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, are making 2006 look an awful lot like a Democratic year.

What happened on Tuesday could very well happen in Colorado in 2006 because 12 months may not be enough time for Republicans to fix the problem. The White House is in shambles with the CIA leak probe and Hurricane Katrina response controversies, and prominent members of congress like Tom DeLay are under indictment for campaign finance fraud. There is a belief that voters may finally have had enough with President Bush and his cronies and took that anger out on Republicans nationwide. While most voters said in an early exit poll that President Bush did not play a factor in their decision, it may be an overall disgust with Republican politics in general that is doing the job.

In Colorado this backlash could play a role in some key races next year. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Arvada) has been running for governor since last spring, but might he instead return to a congressional seat that would be easier to hold? If he doesn’t, how much will Republican Rick O’Donnell, running to replace Beauprez in congressional district seven, be hurt by his ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was in Denver last month to raise money for his campaign? O’Donnell is in a tough district with slightly more Democratic voters than Republican voters, and even a small amount of backlash from Unaffiliated voters could be a death blow.

The one Republican who might actually benefit from this backlash is Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton). Tancredo often brags that White House officials don’t like him and that Bush advisor Karl Rove once told him “never to darken the door of the White House again.” Tancredo may be more than happy to oblige, because right now getting on board with the White House is no more safe than getting on board the Titanic.

The Republican ship is sinking; how many Colorado politicians will go down with it?

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