After spending decades as political doormats in Colorado, Democrats upended the state by seizing nearly every important office from the GOP in just a few elections. Want the play-by-play? No one gets into the trenches like political reporter Adam Schrager (KUSA-TV) and former Republican state legislator Rob Witwer in their new book, The Blueprint (May, Speaker's Corner).
Why did you tackle this story?
Schrager We both understood that a seismic change in politics was happening, but we didn't understand the depth at first. The day before the election in 2004, Republicans controlled pretty much every office in the state. At the end of election day in 2008, that was flipped on its head.
Witwer Even people on the outside were seeing it—Time, the Washington Post, and the Weekly Standard—all had the same question: What's going on in Colorado?
Have the Republicans responded to the Democratic victories?
Schrager We liken what happened to a football game: In 2004, 2006, and 2008, the Democrats ran the same play and got better at it each time. As Governor Ritter says in the book, the Republicans haven't decided what kind of defense they want to play yet.
Democrats are getting a lot of flak nationally and locally. What will happen in the election this year?
Witwer The Democrats are now facing a strong headwind, but they built their infrastructure to withstand those tough cycles. 2010 will be a test of whether their levee will hold against the national tide.
Schrager All the national media is interested in is who will control Congress in 2011, but [Colorado Democrats] are thinking about who will control politics for the next decade. From an infrastructure standpoint, they're set up in Colorado.