In the end, the race for governor of Colorado was not nearly as close as polls suggested it might be in the weeks leading up to the election.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, won a solid victory by more than 10 percentage points over Tom Tancredo, the Republican-turned-American-Constitution-Party candidate. Some recent polls showed Tancredo within a few points of Hickenlooper.
Meanwhile, Dan Maes, the actual Republican nominee for governor, struggled to receive 10 percent of the vote.
Hickenlooper was the beneficiary of a multitude of missteps by the opposition — the failure of leading GOP candidate Scott McInnis to win the primary after a plagiarism scandal doomed his campaign; Maes’ exaggerations and misstatements; Tancredo’s decision to enter the race as a third-party candidate and thereby divide the conservative vote.
But Hickenlooper also won considerable support, from independents and Republicans as well as Democrats, based on his own merits. He ran as a successful businessman and the mayor of the state’s largest city, someone with experience in managing large budgets and making necessary cuts when that was required. He also argued against raising taxes in the midst of this recession and promoted a platform for growth in which the state will work with local entities to encourage job creation.
Perhaps more than anything, though, Hickenlooper came across as a friendly, intelligent, energetic man who vowed to work with people of all political persuasions to improve Colorado’s fortunes.
Colorado will be well-served if he governs in the same manner.
Congratulations to Governor-elect John Hickenlooper.