All Over the Republican Map: Early Voting, the Tea Party Influence, and Incumbents

October 2010

Dan Maes, the Republican nominee for governor who continues to lag far behind in polls, was "visibly worn" during a brief campaign stop in Colorado Springs yesterday, where he urged 25 tea-party activists to vote for him even though it might mean handing the governorship to Democrat John Hickenlooper. The event, chronicled by The Denver Post, was a sign of the lingering divisiveness among conservatives, who also have the American Constitution Party's Tom Tancredo to consider.

But Republicans have not been apathetic so far this election. About 25,000 more of them have voted than Democrats (via KUNC radio). And it's unclear how many of those tie-breaking unaffiliated voters are sitting out the election or are simply taking their time to turn in their ballots. To get down in the weeds, the right-leaning National Review has published a series of maps showing conservative and liberal bastions in Colorado, along with the districts that have swayed in recent elections.

Despite current reports of dwindling numbers, The Washington Post thinks the tea party remains a "volatile influence." The big question is whether they're doing more harm than good for Republicans, writes the Post: "In Delaware and Colorado, Senate hopefuls Christine O'Donnell and Ken Buck, respectively, are under fire for denying that the First Amendment's establishment clause dictates a separation of church and state."

But as Election Day nears, candidates who are already in office and trailing, or running neck-and-neck in the polls, have reason to worry. As a rule, "incumbents get relatively few of the votes from those who say they are undecided on the eve of an election. So incumbents trailing at this late stage are in trouble," writes The Wall Street Journal.