No Red Wave in Colorado

By Renee Parsons

While the Red Wave of America First elections was eagerly anticipated in many parts of the country, there was little to no such anticipation in much of Colorado.   Thanks, to some extent, to the recreational marijuana ballot initiative that was approved by Colorado voters a decade ago.  

The aftermath of the initiative forever altered the state’s political constituency and its population with the arrival of a generation of homeless, mostly indigent wretches as well as a generation of baby boomer potheads.   The influx of those immigrants destroyed Colorado as a bona fide red state as well as its western values of self government and independent thinkings.   What has morphed in its place is a population of progressive Marxist blue state lovers of Black Lives Matter, Antifa and Critical Race Theory teachings which many school districts have banned. 

So far, no drag queens have yet appeared in the children’s section of the public library. 

Meanwhile, there was no discernible red wave in Colorado where Unaffiliated voters (1,736,967) surpass the Democratic party’s political edge (1,058,592), even as the Dems retain their electoral dominance, holding onto notable statewide elected positions.  As of November 1st, there were 940,970 registered Republicans in Colorado.  During the 2022 midterm elections with a 55% voter turn out,  2.1 million voters cast their ballots, out of a total of 3.8 million active voters.   There is, however, no public record yet of how the three party affiliations voted in the 2022 mid term.  

In the gubernatorial race, millionaire incumbent Democrat Jared Polis who paid no taxes (2013 – 2015) was re-elected with 61% of the vote while  Republican challenger Heidi Ganahl received 37%.   Polis was well known as a former US Representative (D-Co) and member of the Gang of Four which is described in “The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado.” 

Elected to statewide office in the past as a member of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, Ganahl avoided the hot button issue of whether the 2020 election was legitimate and was unable to exhibit the necessary mojo to carry her into the Governor’s mansion.  While she endorsed cutting the state’s .22$ per gallon gas tax in half, eliminating the state’s income tax and disclosing Polis’ masquerade of ‘fees’ which were in reality regulatory taxes, she was unable to convince voters.  

In addition, while the elevated toxicity of fentanyl in Colorado has tragically shattered the lives of many families and the state’s mostly young population, Ganahl missed the opportunity to beat Polis over the head with his failure of  twice supporting legislation approved by a pathetically weak Democratic State Assembly to maintain fentanyl as a misdemeanor.  She failed to put the state’s onerous and unnecessary covid mandates at his feet or to clearly focus a strong position on the parent’s right issue.    

On the Colorado Senate race,  Democratic nothing-burger incumbent Senator Michael Bennett was re elected with 58% as Republican anti-Trumper Joe Odea received  40% of the vote.  

Odea, who was not a Republican party stalwart, avoided the caucus route in order to secure the Republican nomination for the Senate.  He never participated as a candidate in any of the local, county or state caucus meetings and instead hired a team to circulate petitions to obtain the necessary signatures for a spot on the primary ballot.  As a millionaire  construction contractor, Odea ran a well funded primary campaign and beat the one state legislative candidate who survived the state caucus meetings.   

With little relationship to the Republican party machine, such as it exists, Odea displayed a shocking lack of political savvy or sensitivity to the rank and file Republicans across the state. Early on, after he had won the primary, he let it be known that he was not a supporter of former President Donald Trump.  As if to reiterate his ‘independence,’ Odea, in an example of providing too much information, later announced that he would not support Trump if he were the 2024 nominee for President.  

Since Trump received 1.3 million Colorado votes in 2020, it would have been smart for Odea to keep his political likes/dislikes to himself until after the election. As former NJ Governor Chris Christie stepped in to announce his support for Odea and that he expected an election day upset in Odea’s favor, there was the hint of a Rino political agenda shaping up that did not sit well with many Rocky Mountain State Republicans.  Trump responded by requesting his Colorado supporters to not vote for Odea.   Needless to say, Odea was soundly defeated; thus avoiding an unnecessary internecine party quarrel that was all too predictable given Odea’s lack of discretion.   It may be expected that Odea will not be heard from any time soon. 

Shock of the mid term election evening was former Aspen Mayor Adam Frisch’s near upset of Representative Lauren Boebert who was mostly assumed to cruise to an easy victory in Congressional District 3.  Instead, with a Democrat surprise of ballot harvesting rather than the old fashioned way of winning votes on election day, Boebert nearly became electoral toast.  Thanks to building up a significant wide margin of support, as occurred in Arizona and Nevada,  America First candidates like Lauren were able to withstand the Dems earlier ballot collection that could have spelled campaign doom.  The use of ballot harvesting also frequently causes a delay in ‘vote’ counting.

As of this writing, Lauren has taken the lead by over 1000 votes as ballots continue to arrive.  Given Frisch’s sex scandal that was revealed some weeks ago, it is expected that he will, tempting though it may be, forego a recount that may dredge up past personal monkey-business. 

In summary, the Colorado Republican Party apparatus would benefit from not just rebuilding the party from a status quo group of milque toasters who consistently lose elections but to dare make the shift to put America First issues at the forefront of other (sometimes) frivolous pursuits.  The State would benefit from avoiding being dismissed as a collective bunch of drugsters by initiating a major reform of its current electoral system.  That system could require in-person and same day voting with an id and a paper ballot required as well as initiate a state law to join other states which have already declare election day as a state holiday; thereby removing many, if not all, vote corruption opportunities.   

Renee Parsons served on the once prestigious ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, staff in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found at

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