The importance of Colorado in Barack Obama's presidential victory is underscored by its placement in How Barack Obama Won: A State-By-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election, a just-published book by NBC News political director Chuck Todd and Sheldon Gawiser, the net's elections director. Colorado is the first state listed in the tome's breakdown, heading the "Battleground States" category. It's one of eight states in the grouping, and the authors see the entire gaggle as likely bellwethers. "Each and every one of these states was a contest," they write, "and probably should be keyed on as folks put together their battleground state lists for 2012."
What about the election two years from now? Todd and Gawiser see tough times for conservatives ahead.
Here's the way their Colorado segment concludes:
As for 2010, it's difficult to imagine the Republican comeback will be under way. The Republican bench in the state is a mess. The Republicans have tried a few methods to bail them out of their mess this century, including recruiting well-knowns (such as Pete Coors), running moderates (Bob Beauprez for governor in 2006) or running conservatives (Bob Schaffer for Senate in 2008). Nothing has worked. The party needs one of two things to happen: some sort of Democratic overreach in the state or a slow rebuilding of the party from the ground up, in which the party doesn't get caught up in nasty ideological fights. The pressure to move right for Republicans is high because of the social conservative powerhouses that reside in Colorado Springs. But as the state holds on to its very moderate and independent roots, the pressure hasn't been a help to the GOP.
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Judging by the analysis offered by Todd and Gawiser, Dick Wadhams has a lot of work to do.