Right now, based on money and ground work, Democrats are going to take the Capitol, both chambers, in November, 2012. Republicans have to run the table of contested races in the House, taking all possible uncertain seats, including those leaning Dem. The Dems have 29 done deals and 6 races leaning their way.
The Senate is equally unforgiving to the GOP. Dems have 17 sure seats and 1 leaning. Republicans have 13 sure seats and 1 leaning. Three Senate seats are up in the air, and the Dems are certain to take at least one, and it's very possible they'll take all three.
Early money in redrawn districts critical
How did Republicans get in this mess? First, they didn't put early money into their candidates like the Dems did. With redistricting, many legislators in contested districts have to get their names out to new constituents. Incumbency isn't a ticket to Denver.
Democrat Mike McLachlan in Durango ginned up enough money to get his name out early. He's spent about $20,000 to Rep. J. Paul Brown's $8000. Yet this is a district that has lots of new voters whom Brown doesn't know. McLachlan, a former prosecutor and state solicitor general, still has a lot more money on hand than Brown, so he's good to go into the home stretch. The only issue holding McLachlan back is 3.8+ Republican persuasion numbers, but that's not a huge factor in a presidential year when more Dems are likely to turn out.
Good Dem Karma
Another factor is good luck in how Dem House and Senate races can help each other in south Jeffco and Arapahoe County. Rep. Andy Kerr v Rep. Ken Summers pits the school teacher against the preacher in SD-22. Kerr, the teacher, shares the Senate district with House candidates Brittany Pettersen in the north and Mary Parker in the south. Summers is partnered with Amy Attwood in the north and Justin Everett in the south.
Pettersen and Parker out raise and walk their competitors
Pettersen in HD-28 is a community organizer whom many counted out as too young and inexperienced. She countered by outraising and out walking Attwood, at least so far. The Republican party finally gave $7500 to Attwood to bolster her chances.
Parker, the south Jeffco Dem in HD-22 whom others have counted out due to bad performance and registration numbers, has outwalked Everett, outraised him for the general election, and has run a non-stop voter ID program.
Summers must be in a pinch because the GOP dropped $20,500 into his bucket, which doesn't come close to catching him up with Kerr in money. Summers didn't list this money in his Aug 29 report to the CO Secretary of State, but the Colorado Republican Committee did. He will need to deposit the check soon, however, because Kerr has done two mailings already.
So Summers is left with three candidates on the other side doing door knocking, GOTV and mail on voters, along with Obama's machine and 3A/3B Jeffco Schools initiative supporters. On the Republican's side - less money, one candidate in the game, and the other candidate, Everett, sitting on his hands assuming he's going to win without raising money and without walking neighborhoods. At this point, it's too late for Everett to make much of an impression because Parker has already covered over 14,000 households and 600 miles.
Jeffco dynamic plays in Arapahoe County
Some of the same dynamic will help Rep. Daniel Kagan in HD-3 and Sen. Linda Newell in SD-26 in Arapahoe County. They will get out the same voters along with Obama. That arrangement helps Kagan against Brian Watson, who's cranked up $185,000 and received another $14,500 from the GOP. Kagan only has $120,000, but Newell has raised twice as much money as her opponent.
It will be a failure of massive proportions if Dems can't take advantage of symbiotic GOTV efforts, even though they will not coordinate their efforts among campaigns.
Incumbents need help, but will it come too late?
Finally, it looks like Republicans have left some of their own incumbent candidates to make do. Rep. Cindy Acree in HD-40 is in a very tough campaign against John Buckner in Aurora. Buckner was slow to raise money, but he's jumped ahead in a race that leans his way with voter registration and persuasion. Acree now has her hands full trying to retain her own incumbent seat. Rep. Mark Barker in HD-17 is in a similar position in Colorado Springs.
To salvage their situation, the GOP will need to put more of its money into these tight races and call all hands on deck. Maybe Republicans are counting on 527s and 501c4s to pull the races out. But even negative mail and robocalls have a hard time against candidates who have met voters face to face. An upset in HD-22 against Justin Everett would pretty much cinch up the merits of house-to-house campaigning in tough elections. Parker aims to go one thousand miles before November 6, working through three pairs of shoes. PEN