When state Rep. Kathleen Curry left the Democratic Party to run as an independent write-in candidate, naysayers said she didn't have a chance to regain her seat. Curry lost, but by fewer than 300 votes. The lesson, she says, is that a write-in candidate can win, and an unaffiliated candidate has an even better chance. Curry says she plans to remain an independent and help organize other unaffiliated candidates. She has her eye on running for her old seat again, and is still waiting for that call from Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper.
What's next for you?
I'm not exactly sure. The thing that stands out would be to move forward with organizing independent voters and trying to set up organizations that could help independent candidates move forward.
What would that look like?
Just look at what the two parties have in place. Independent candidates and independent voters are not organized in terms of independent expenditure groups. Folks that can help coordinate the ground game on Election Day. Volunteer organizations. Each of the major parties has an organization in all 64 counties. Independent candidates don't have anything like that. I think if I work toward putting in place an organizational structure, a resource entity that people could turn to, it would save them a lot of time and energy and help them compete when they are running.
How much of a disadvantage do you think you were at as an independent candidate?
It was more structural. It sounds like mundane stuff but it adds up to votes. Things like whether or not you have volunteers located geographically. I was an incumbent and I knew folks across the district, but if you're starting out new and trying to run an independent campaign, it would be really hard for those folks to network. They don't have that built-in framework like that Democrats and Republicans have.
It sounds like you're going to stay unaffiliated.
I'm happy right where I am. Especially now that I know you can be successful. I think the campaign went well and the vote count was close, so I'm encouraged to keep going in this direction.
You didn't win but you were within 300 votes. What do you think that says?
I know it was actually a closer margin than 300. There were over-votes [votes for two candidates] that my watchers saw that shouldn't have been counted for my opponents. Had I pursued a recount I think the margin would have narrowed even more. That is really encouraging because it just shows that people are willing to vote for an unaffiliated candidate and are willing to write in. What I take from that 300-vote-or-less loss was that this was really close.
Is the takeaway that it could be winnable for a write-in candidate?
Yeah, it could be. I learned a lot about what you need to do that. But I think the takeaway for me is, it's winnable if you're an unaffiliated candidate on the ballot.
Will we see you in politics again?
Oh yeah. Definitely. This was a positive experience in terms of being an unaffiliated candidate and I definitely plan to pursue public office in the future. I haven't ruled out the House seat.
Running for your old seat again?
It's possible. I'm looking at a couple different options.
What about Congress?
That's a tough call. I think the need for a less-partisan approach is even more pronounced in terms of serving in Congress, but the hill is really hard to climb. The amount of money, both inside and outside of Colorado, that was spent on the U.S. Senate races and also on Congressional races, it's intimidating, to be honest with you.
Is there any talk of a place in the Hickenlooper administration?
You know, the phone's not ringing off the hook from them. On the other hand, he's stated publicly that he wants to bring in unaffiliated folks and Republicans. I don't think my lack of affiliation is a huge hurdle with him based on what he's told folks: that he's definitely committed to being inclusive. I don't know if he's interested in me or not, but there are definitely some opportunities there that I think would be a great experience and you could do really great work. Especially over in the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Natural Resources.