"Clearing the field." In political parlance, the phrase is commonly used to describe a candidate's ability to nudge and elbow their way through an otherwise competitive intra-party primary uncontested, thereby positioning themselves for a relatively effortless or imminent win in a successive dual-party match up.
Money in the bank and a distinguished record of public service can put those in the same Party mulling a run on notice, and help gild a clear and decisive path to victory. For openly gay Latino legislative candidates Jessie Ulibarri and Dominick Moreno - both seeking respective seats in the Colorado Senate and House - mastering the game of "clearing the path" has quickly anointed the twenty-something year olds rising political stars, landing them on speed dial by Democratic caucus leaders.
That's why Colorado's June 26 Primary served more as a procedural exercise than a real contest for Ulibarri and Moreno, as they faced no Democratic opposition and are widely expected to nab their seats in November. Both district's have a double-digit Democratic registration advantage with a majority of "unaffiliated" or "independent" voters expected to break for the Democrat.
Ulibarri and Moreno will now spend their next four months putting their formidable fundraising skills to the test in support of fellow Democrats whose path is not so certain, and in pursuit of a Democratic majority that could deliver the Speaker's gavel to openly gay Minority Leader, Rep. Mark Ferrandino.
GOP Speaker Frank McNulty exercised an extraordinary abuse of power earlier this year by ending the House's legislative session and killing 30 other bills in a successful effort to block a civil unions bill from passing the House with bipartisan support as it had in the Senate. For Colorado's LGBT families, the prospect of doubling Colorado's LGBT representation in the legislature with an openly gay Speaker at the helm can restore hope that same-sex relationship recognition legislation will pass in the next session.
For their part, Ulibarri and Moreno are working overtime to ensure Colorado can do just that. To learn more about their candidacy and support their campaigns, visit www.jessieforcolorado.com or www.dominickmoreno.com.