The elections are over. I may have shed a little tear of happiness knowing the ads on television, in print and invading my mailbox will now stop.
Now, it’s time to overanalyze why the results are what they are. In Douglas County, results are not too big of a shock, but is there starting to be a bit of a blue ripple in Highlands Ranch? After all, as current counts stand, Democrat Bob Marshall looks to be heading to represent District 43 in the state House of Representatives.
Is a Democratic invasion coming? Or, is it just a blip and all order will be restored in 2024?
In Littleton, will housing become a struggle with every new proposal? Judging by the results, tensions are high, and they may remain so in the near future.
Throughout each county and community, getting new taxes approved surely looks to be a tough sell at every level. Schools do not just get a yes vote anymore. Lodging taxes even failed in Centennial.
In looking at local, metro races, there is one message that is clear — people want open space and will pass whatever you ask them to in order to preserve it.
Now, looking beyond our metro communities, I am fascinated by the impact unaffiliated voters are starting to have on elections in Colorado and nationwide. I look at unaffiliated voters as those who no longer want to be affiliated with either party.
As an unaffiliated voter myself, I am disgusted with both parties and will not align with either one. I originally switched years ago because I am a journalist who started covering politics. However, I am so glad I did change years ago because I love being in the middle.
Looking at Colorado election numbers provided by the Secretary of State’s Office, of the more than 3.8 million registered voters in the state, just over 45% of them are unaffiliated.
According to a Colorado Sun report in July, unaffiliated voters had a big impact on primary election outcomes. According to the article, more than 231,000 unaffiliated voters cast Republican primary ballots this year, about 100,000 more than chose to vote in the GOP primary in 2020 and 130,000 more than voted in the 2018 GOP primary.
The strategy in the primary was obvious – get out the candidates who are over-the-top. Tina Peters is a great example. The primary results paved the way for Pam Anderson, who was sensible and a good candidate to run for the state’s election office.
According to numbers from the general election, 2.4 million Colorado residents cast ballots in the recent election. Of those, 983,477 are unaffiliated, 742,429 are Democrat and 687,433 are Republican.
As future elections come into view, strategists are no longer going to be able to just cater to one side or the other. If Colorado continues to follow the path of 2022, the unaffiliated voter is going to require reason, solutions, and better engagement from candidates.
I hope the trends continue at the national level because at some point the two-party bickering and arguing has to stop. That also means maybe more unaffiliated candidates may have a chance in running for office.
Thelma Grimes is the south metro editor for Colorado Community Media.
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