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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bummer in CO Underscores Off-year Challenge Facing Dems

From Dave Nir’s elections Morning Digest at Daily Kos:

In a devastating result for Democrats, two legislators who supported new gun safety laws, state Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron, both lost in recall elections spurred by the NRA and gun activists on Tuesday night, Morse by less than 2 percent, Giron by 12. Morse will be replaced by Republican Bernie Herpin; Giron’s seat, meanwhile, will be taken over by another Republican, George Rivera. Both Herpin and Rivera have to go before voters next year, and both seats gave Barack Obama about 58 to 59 percent of the vote in 2012, so they won’t be easy holds for the GOP. But last night’s results show just how badly Democratic turnout dropped in these unusually timed, off-off-year elections.
For now, Democrats’ 20-15 edge in the Senate has been whittled down to a precarious 18-17–and the NRA and their allies will crow about what this means for proponents of gun regulations. Conservatives have talked about ushering in a “wave of fear” among Democratic lawmakers nationwide, but more immediately, they might attempt another recall to try to take control of the chamber, since Republicans clearly benefit when holding elections in non-presidential years. This falloff in enthusiasm in years not divisible by four is probably the biggest electoral challenge Democrats face nationwide right now, and these recalls, if any good is to come of them, should spur the party to seriously address this major problem.

The recall election is a setback for both Democrats and public safety in a state that has experienced more than it’s share of tragedy as a result of mass shootings in Columbine and Aurora. Now might be a good time for Democratic leaders to convene top experts on maximizing voter turnout in non-presidential elections and implement a program to address the issue.

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