Special Session Hurts Some More than Others

July 2006
The special legislative session begins today, which you've no doubt heard a lot about already. Much of the discussion in the press has been about how the issue of illegal immigration affects each political party, and about how the political game has played out in regards to the session (largely in favor of Democrats, as I wrote earlier). But there is another side to the special session that has huge political ramifications, and it has nothing to do with the issues: It's all about time, or rather, a lack thereof. The special session is supposed to last about five days, and legislators will be working through the weekend to wrap things up. That could prove very costly to a handful of legislators, particularly those who are in the middle of heated primary races. One of the most important things a candidate for the legislature can do prior to an election is to get out and walk door-to-door talking to potential voters. With about a month left until the primary, every day counts – especially weekend days – and candidates who have to report to the state Capitol over the weekend are losing precious time that could be spent campaigning. This is particularly true for two candidates for state Senate who are involved in bitter primaries. Republican Sen. Kiki Traylor is in the middle of a three-way primary in senate district 22 (Jefferson County), and Democratic Rep. Fran Coleman is fighting her own three-way battle for a state Senate seat in district 32 (Southwest Denver). If either of those races come down to the wire, losing five days in July could end up being the nail in the old political coffin for Traylor and Coleman. Politically, there is a lot at stake with this special session. For some legislators, that's more true than for others.