COLORADO 8 Electoral Votes
A joke, which may have some truth to it, is that California's Republicans have all moved to Colorado.  Democrats had a narrow registration advantage in 1992-3, and Clinton narrowly won the state in 1992.  In 1994 Republicans gained the registration lead, and in 1995 Democrats fell to third behind Unaffiliated.  By 1996, when Dole won, Republicans' registration advantage was more than 100,000, and has grown a bit since then.  By Nov. 2000, Colorado had only one statewide elected Democrat, Attorney General Ken Salazar; likewise California had only one statewide elected Republican.
Bush-Cheney Gore-Lieberman
Campaign Campaign
Bush-Cheney Chairman: Gov. Bill Owens
Bush-Cheney State Director: Sean Tonner
...deputy chief of staff to Gov. Bill Owens; organizational director for Owens' 1998 campaign; organizational director for Dole for President in 1996.

Victory 2000: Sean Murphy (CO Rep. Party)

Colorado Republican Party
Chairman: Bob Beauprez
Exec. Dir.: Sean Murphy
Office: 1776 South Jackson St., Suite 210, Denver

Gore-Lieberman Co-Chairs: Attorney General Ken Salazar and Denver Mayor Wellington Webb
Gore-Lieberman State Director: Tom Downey
...from Aug. 2000; on leave of absence from position as Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Ken Salazar; previously in private practice in Denver and DC.  [Downey's wife, who formerly worked for Ben Nighthorse Campbell, was the initial choice to head the campaign but she was working on an initiative campaign].
Office: 1405 Curtis Street, Denver 

Coordinated Campaign Director: Beth Ganz (CO Dem. Party)

Colorado Democratic Party
Chairman: Tim Knaus
Exec. Dir.: Beth Ganz
Office: 5200 East Colfax Ave., Denver

Candidate Travel (Aug. 1-Nov. 7) Candidate Travel (Aug. 1-Nov. 7)
Gov. Bush did not visit Colorado during the fall campaign.
Sec. Cheney visited once:
Sept. 15 -- 1. DC and LC fly to Aspen, DC speaks at Forstmann Little and Company annual luncheon at the Maroon Creek Club in Aspen.  2. DC and LC participate in airport welcome and salute to POWs and MIAs at Jeffco Airport in Broomfield (Denver area).  3. DC and LC visit the Mexican Consulate's Independence celebration at Lakewood Cultural Center.  4. DC and LC attend Colorado Victory 2000 evening reception at the Hyatt Regency in Denver ($).

Note: Cheney's schedule underwent late changes--initial plans for DC and LC education remarks at Denver Arts & Technology Academy (public charter school) in Denver were cancelled.  In the revised schedule, DC was supposed to appear at The Delectable Egg in Denver, but that too was cancelled.  Interviews with local media were also cancelled.  Democrats saw a connection between the pared-down public schedule and the recent embarrassing news that Cheney had voted in just two of the past sixteen elections held in Dallas County over the previous five years (reported by the Dallas Morning News on Sept. 8).

Vice Pres. Gore did not visit Colorado during the fall campaign.
Sen. Lieberman visited once:
Sept. 17 -- 1. JL meets with supporters, watches Broncos - Raiders football game, Pipefitters Local Union #208, Westminster.  2. JL DNC reception, Denver Hyatt Regency, Denver ($).  3. JL holds a number of constituency group meetings at the hotel.
A Sampling of More Campaign Activity A Sampling of More Campaign Activity
Oct. 10 -- Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson speaks to seniors at Windsor Gardens in east Denver.

Sept. 23-24.  Sept. 23 -- Kristin Gore breakfast with Democratic women at a private home in Boulder, does a coffee at Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boulder, stops in at Casa de Cafe in Denver, speaks at Arapahoe County Democrats' Adlai Stevenson Dinner in Aurora and at the Jefferson County Democrats' Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner in Golden.  Sept. 24 -- Stops in at Mile High Stadium Denver in advance of Broncos-KC Chiefs football game.  A planned stop in Fort Collins on Sept. 24 was cancelled due to snow.

week of Sept. 22 -- Jim Frush, the guide who led Gore and his son up Mt. Ranier in 1999, tours southern and western Colorado (Durango, Telluride...Sept. 22 stops included Edwards and Aspen).

Oct 14 -- In a trip to Denver, President Clinton visits Mi Casa Resource Center for Women and does a fundraising luncheon for the state Democratic Party and Democratic State Senate candidates at the Oxford Hotel.

Television Television
None, however some of the southern parts of the state did get ads spilling over from New Mexico. None, however some of the southern parts of the state did get ads spilling over from New Mexico.
Some Newspaper Endorsements Some Newspaper Endorsements
Denver Rocky Mountain News --10/29/00   EWS
Greeley Tribune
Boulder Daily Camera --10/29/00   EWS
Denver Post --10/29/00
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Durango Herald --10/29/00

Miscellaneous Notes Miscellaneous Notes
Assessing the Gore effort, Sean Tonner, who directed Bush's campaign in the state, said bluntly, "They basically turned out the lights in Colorado; they didn't even try to make a fight of it."  "They just walked away," he said.

The Bush exploratory committee started organizing in March 1999 and announced county chairmen in all 63 counties on Nov. 4, 1999.  By contrast, Tonner said he saw no evidence of the Gore campaign until April or May of 2000.

The absence of competition made for a quiet campaign; other than Cheney's visit there weren't noteworthy visits.  Colorado became a net donor state, shipping people to help in battleground states such as New Mexico, Washington, Iowa and Missouri.  Republicans did make a substantial effort to encourage early and absentee voting, which started on Oct. 23,using phone calls and mail.

Looking at the 3 largest counties, Bush carried Jefferson (adjacent to Denver) by about 20,000 votes. Gore swamped Bush in Denver County, but that was more than offset by Bush's showing in El Paso County (encompasses Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy).
El Paso:

While the Gore campaign had been relatively quiet leading up to the convention, the pace picked up in August with Tom Downey starting as the full-time paid state director.  The campaign opened a full-fledged office, consisting of three rooms in a hotel undergoing renovations, and had a dedicated volunteer staff. 

Colorado was not a targeted state for the national campaign.  "Because we didn't have a budget, it was all earned media," Downey said.  Roughly sixty percent of Colorado's electorate is in the Denver metro media, but Downey, in his travels on behalf of the campaign, found it easier to break in to the media outside the Denver metro market.  Radio, TV and newspapers in outlying areas were more receptive.  Debate watch parties provided another opportunity to make news; at a couple of the parties Lieberman-Cheney and Gore-Bush look-alike contests drew some attention.

Other than the presidential race, there were no top of the ticket contests, but a number of initiatives tending to favor Democratic turnout were on the ballot including a moderate gun control measure, Amendment 22 (Background Checks - Gun Shows), an education funding measure, Amendment 23 (Providing Additional K-12 Funding), which Gov. Owens opposed, and Amendment 24 (Citizen Management of Growth) which was defeated by a coalition of developers and low income housing advocates.

Surprisingly, exit polls on Election Day morning showed that Gore had a chance.  The national campaign called and said they were going to start phone banking out of Nashville.  "We had worked very hard with no resources," Downey said later; "It was a nice pat on the back."  (In fact, the Republicans put resources into getting their supporters to do early and absentee voting, and these voters are not reflected well in exit polls).  Assessing the results, Downey noted that Bush's 8-percent margin wasn't a blow-out, and that the campaign did far better in outlying areas than expected.

The 13 counties Gore won in: Adams, Boulder, Costilla, Denver, Gilpin, Huerfano, Lake, Las Animas, Pitkin, Pueblo, Saguache, San Miguel, Summit. 

Nader.  Ralph Nader visited Colorado twice in the fall, on Sept. 8-10 and on Nov. 2.  On Sept. 8 he did a lecture and Q&A on "Environment and Activism" at Fort Lewis College in Durango.  On Sept. 9 in Denver he did a lecture and Q&A on "Corporate Control of the Global Economy with Reference to Western Colorado" followed by book signing at Montrose Pavilion Auditorium, and on Sept. 10 he held a rally at the Mercury Café in downtown Denver.  On Nov. 2., Nader did a press avail. and held a rally at the Paramount Theatre in Denver.
Nader State Coordinator: Nancy Harvey of Boulder ...a co-founder of the Boulder Green Alliance; Green Movement and Green Party activist and organizer since 1988. Participated in "the Battle in Seattle."  Recently obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science and Women's Studies.
Nader Regional Coordinator: Dean Myerson ...from Boulder; concentrated on Colorado after finishing with ballot access
Office: 2785 North Speer Blvd, Ste 305, Denver   -- from Sept. 15-Nov. 15

Here is an overview of the campaign drawn from an article by Nader State Coordinator Nancy Harvey and a post-election interview:

In Colorado, Greens had a relatively solid base to work from.  The Boulder Green Alliance was formed in 1988; the Green Party of Colorado has been a "qualified political organization" since 1993, and it became a minor party in 1998.  Nader obtained a little over 25,000 votes (1.66 percent) in Colorado in his 1996 non-campaign.  Before the 2000 campaign began, Greens had eight locals in existence.

As part of his pre-convention travel to all fifty states, Nader held a news conference at the State Capitol in Denver on April 26.  On June 24-25, Greens from around the country converged in Denver for the Greens' presidential nominating convention.  The campaign continued on a fairly low level, running out of Harvey's home, until the opening of an office in Denver in mid-September helped to focus its efforts.  Although Boulder and Denver were hubs, ultimately twelve functioning campaign groups were established (Boulder, Breckenridge, Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Greeley, Paonia, Telluride, Pueblo and Montrose).

Nader forces held two protests in Denver to protest his exclusion from the debates.  The first, with a theme of "Death of Democracy," drew about eighty people and featured a black coffin with "Democracy" written on it in red, white and blue letters; a number of protesters dressed as ghouls and goblins.  The second, "Beat down the Commission on Presidential Debates," was a noisy affair, with drums complementing the chanting.  In addition, Greens joined Libertarian, Reform, Natural Law and Constitution party supporters on Oct. 25 outside the Rocky Mountain News building in Denver to protest the paper's voter election guide.  The guide, published in the Oct. 22 Rocky Mountain News, did not profile any third party candidates.

Of course there was plenty of nuts-and-bolts work.  "We did tons of tabling," Harvey said.  In Boulder there were coordinated lit drops with Green Party 2nd district congressional candidate Ron Forthofer.  Close to a hundred volunteers worked on targeted drops in Denver.  Materials were shipped around the state.  More than 120,000 pieces of literature were distributed.

Fundraising was an ongoing task as well.  Over twenty house parties in Denver and Boulder brought in some money.  Local bands played "Rock 'til you Ralph" fundraisers at the Mercury Cafe and other venues.  An "Eat 'til you Ralph" pancake breakfast in Boulder proved successful and fun.  On Sept. 15, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne did a fundraising concert at the Fillmore Auditorium (the Rocky Mountain News' music critic described the show as "a special, once-in-a-blue-moon event" and gave it an "A" rating).

Harvey said the national campaign was generally very helpful.  For example, it sent weekly lists of names of Coloradoans who had signed up through the website.  It wasn't perfect, though.  "Sometimes we had problems getting materials," she observed.  To cap off the campaign, Nader made a visit in the closing days.  The Nov. 2 rally at Paramount Theater in Denver received good coverage in the media.  As the campaign drew to a close, sign wavers did visibility at various intersections.

Nader obtained 5.25 percent of the statewide vote -- 91,434 votes.  He achieved 10 percent or more of the vote in ten of Colorado's 63 counties; his highest vote total was in Boulder County, and his highest percentage was in San Miguel County, where he was boosted by county commissioner Art Goodtimes' successful re-election campaign.  In February 2000, when Nader announced, there were 1,800 registered Greens in Colorado; by the end of the campaign that number had increased to 2,900.  Harvey stated that, "Being State Campaign Coordinator for Colorado was the most exciting and personally rewarding job I've ever had."  "It was the culmination of stuff I've been doing for years," she said; marveling that she was actually paid to coordinate the campaign "after doing this for so many years without pay."  Looking back, Harvey said she would like to have gotten organized earlier; the office was particularly helpful, she said, and she hopes the party will be able to have an office of its own at some point in the not-to-distant future.

Newspaper Endorsements -- Ralph Nader
Colorado Daily
Colorado Springs Independent --10/26/00
Aspen Times

Buchanan.  Pat Buchanan visited Denver on Oct. 31.

Browne.  Harry Browne visited Denver on Oct. 1-2.  Arriving in mid-afternoon on Oct. 1, he was greeted by a contingent of local Libertarians.  On Oct. 2 he did interviews in Denver, then flew to Grand Junction where he did more interviews and taped a statement for the local NBC affiliate.  After the flight back to Denver, Browne spoke at a gun rights rally at the state capitol building, did some interviews and concluded with an evening speech/fundraising event at his hotel.  He left early the next morning.

Hagelin.  Dr. John Hagelin campaigned in Boulder and Denver on Oct. 1-2.
Note. Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson had ruled on Aug. 30, 2000 that Hagelin was the Reform Party candidate.  Buchanan took the matter to court.  District Court Judge J. Stephen Phillips' ruling on Sept. 19 meant that there was no Reform Party presidential candidate on the ballot.  Buchanan appeared as Colorado Freedom Party and Hagelin as Natural Law Party.

Copyright 2000, 2001  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.