Coloradans could hold the fate of the presidential election in
their hands as they prepare to cast their votes.
The decision who will be the next U.S. president may come down
to Colorado voters, and both candidates are attempting to swing the
vote to their side by continuously visiting the state.
“There is a good block of electoral votes here,” said Bill
Chaloupka, political science professor and department chair. “That
really makes a difference. This election is likely to be decided by
fewer than nine electoral votes.”
Andy Davis, communications adviser for the Sen. John Kerry/Sen.
John Edwards campaign, said Kerry visited Colorado a lot during
this campaign because this is a hotly contested state with a lot of
moderate, independent-minded voters.
“The fact that Bush has been here a lot shows that he’s
struggling to stay even,” Davis said. “Kerry is doing very
favorably in all parts of the state and is making an investment of
time and effort.”
Davis said Colorado is a hot battleground state and the youth
vote is playing a large role. Kerry was born in Colorado, which
Davis said gives him another connection to the state.
Nicole Andrews, spokesperson for the President Bush/Vice
President Dick Cheney campaign, said the fact that Kerry was born
here does not make up for his years of voting against Colorado and
Western legislation that would benefit Colorado.
Bush and Kerry have each visited different areas of Colorado six
times during this campaign.
“There are different opportunities to go to different parts of
the state,” Andrews said. “We feel very good about Bush’s position
Davis said the decision to go to certain parts of the state is a
combination of the Kerry campaign’s state and national agendas.
As the Nov. 2 election approaches, both candidates have focused
on Colorado in recent weeks, putting the state in the national
Kerry’s recent visit to Pueblo and Bush’s visit to Greeley both
were made as an effort to secure Colorado’s nine electoral
Andrews said Colorado is an important state and Bush is not
taking anything for granted. Andrews said the nine electoral votes
in Colorado are important to Bush, and he is committed to making
sure Colorado votes for him again, as the state did in the 2000
Chaloupka offered one theory why Colorado has seen so much
attention from the candidates.
“Colorado is in the Rocky Mountain time zone, so the timing
works out pretty well,” Chaloupka said. “The candidates can be on
television in the middle of the day and get out to do more events
for the rest of the day. This is an easy state to get in and out of
so this is a conceivable reason.”
President Bush’s visit to Greeley on Monday was an effort to
repeat history. During the rally, Bush referenced Franklin D.
Roosevelt’s visit to northern Colorado when he was trying to secure
his second term as president 70 years ago. Bush told the Greeley
crowd that shortly after Roosevelt visited Northern Colorado, he
was elected to his second term as president.
“With your help, history will be repeated,” Bush said to a crowd
of supporters at the Island Grove Event Center, 501 N. 14th St., in
Chuck Fogland, president of the CSU Republicans, said the visits
could be because of the tight U.S. Senate race between Republican
Pete Coors and Democrat Ken Salazar in Colorado. Bush was in
Colorado earlier this month to attend a Republican rally and
campaign for Coors at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison.
“We have a hotly contested U.S. Senate race,” Fogland said.
“This race could overturn the Republican-controlled Senate. I’m not
sure Kerry thinks he can win Colorado but he is confident Salazar
Kerry was also in Colorado earlier this month campaigning with
Salazar at the Union Depot, 132 W. B St., in Pueblo. According to
JohnKerry.com, the rally drew more than 10,000 people.
Chaloupka said Amendment 36, which if passed would split the
state’s electoral votes proportionately with the popular vote, is
most likely not a reason for the candidates’ visits to Colorado. He
said Amendment 36 is not likely to pass because it has dropped
steadily in the polls. He said if the candidates thought the
amendment was going to pass, they probably would not be here as
often because they would essentially be fighting for one electoral
vote instead of nine. The amendment would likely split Colorado’s
nine votes so that one candidate would get five and the other would
“It is not a factor at all,” Davis said of Amendment 36. “It has
not changed the strategy at all.”
Andrews and Davis agreed that Colorado is an important state in
the upcoming election. Davis listed Colorado with Florida, Ohio,
Pennsylvania and Minnesota as the most hotly contested states.
Andrews said it is hard to say which states are the most contested,
she but did say Colorado is important to the Bush campaign.
“Colorado is on everyone’s list as a swing state,” Chaloupka
said. “This is a narrow Bush state. It is close though, a lot
closer than anybody would have thought. Close elections can have
Kerry’s visits: Pueblo on Oct.
Englewood on Oct. 5 to 7
Aurora on Sept. 17
La Junta on Aug. 7
Denver on June 21 and July 23.
Bush’s visits: Greeley on Oct.
Colorado Springs on Oct. 12 and June
Greenwood Village on Sept. 14
Denver on Oct. 11 and June 1.