If you were to Google the name of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as recently as a couple of months ago, you'd see articles such as "John Hickenlooper 2016 Presidential Buzz Continues, Dispite His Best Efforts."
But now, if you Google his name, most of the search results are "Gov. John Hickenlooper Tells Senate Committee He Drank Fracking Fluid" and my own "CO Democratic Gov. Hickenlooper switching to Republican Party?"
For those outside of Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper testified before a panel in Washington, D.C., that along with his Halliburton buddies, he "drank fracking fluid" -- a now infamous quote that has been used in countless newspaper articles around the country to defend the "safety" of fracking.
Also, as of this written article, two "liberal" cities, Longmont and Fort Collins, were joined by the most "conservative" stronghold Colorado Springs in passing fracking bans. This same governor took to the airwaves to announce that he would sue any city attempting to ban fracking on behalf of the oil and gas industry.
This article is not to further vilify Governor Hickenlooper any further than he has already done by himself. This is an article that will show potential challengers to the governor how they can chart their path to a primary victory.
Like I mentioned before, I watched and blogged for a 2010 Senate Primary challenge for Michael Bennet by Andrew Romanoff.
That race had several key advantages for Senator Bennet who retained his seat.
1) As an appointed senator to replace Ken Salazar, he had not really voted on anything controversial so there was no real record to attack.
2) He said little that was controversial -- he kept his head down and just stayed out of the spotlight.
3) He had the endorsement and campaign support of President Barack Obama -- this I believe was the deciding factor on why he was able to fend off a challenge by Andrew Romanoff.
That was a tough battle -- as we waited and hoped for the gaffe from Bennet that would give Romanoff an opening -- but it never came and Bennet won the primary. Both sides came together and helped Bennet beat a tea party candidate in the general.
This week, ironically, Senator Bennet announced his endorsement of Andrew Romanoff in his congressional bid against Mike "Obama is not an American" Coffman.
So that's good news.
Like I said, we waited for a gaffe or a chance mistake -- but Bennet kept out of sight and uncontroversial.
Now let's look at the governor's actions: he has embraced fracking, and threatened to sue two cities that have banned fracking, and now is going to have to sue Colorado Springs -- 0 for 2 with liberal towns, and 0-1 with conservative.
But let's look at the primary path, shall we?
Longmont was the first -- and it is a nearby neighbor to Boulder -- and many of the environmental activists involved with the ban came from Boulder.
The second city is Ft. Collins, home to Colorado State and a fairly liberal enclave.
My point here is: Fort Collins, Longmont (and by association Boulder) are liberal enclaves. In fact in a general election, the city of Boulder is the counter weight to conservative Colorado Springs.
Hickenlooper could afford to alienate these liberal places in a general election, but alienating these democratic strongholds is a fatal flaw in a primary.
The governor has basically ceded the majority of the votes to his opponent from these areas in a primary.
Some "smart" people will say, "But he has the oil and gas industry and their money on his side" -- good for him, he will need it.
In Longmont, for instance, the oil and gas industry spent half a million dollars to put up negative ads against the November fracking ban ballot initiative, yet lost 60 percent to 40 percent against a completely unfunded grassroots people powered movement.
Boulder - Longmont - Fort Collins votes -- is also home to some of the finest microbreweries that depend on clean water for their beer and business model.
So when you pick up a Fat Tire, Left Hand, Dale's Pale Ale, Avery, or Oskar Blues, think of how the governor is putting those businesses in peril.
And don't forget, fracking has now lost in Colorado Springs -- the most conservative city in the state of Colorado...
Governor Hickenlooper has not threatened his local constituents and businesses -- by going to Washington and telling everyone how "safe" fracking fluid is, he made himself the national figure of environmentalist's anger.
Whomever challenges him will have not just local donors, but donors from outside of Colorado -- and celebrities like Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon who have made stopping fracking a number one priority.
And this is not just my opinion. In a recent article, it highlights statements Hickenlooper made further comments to anger voters to the Coloradoan. From "Hickenlooper Says State Willing To Compromise Over Fracking Ban In Fort Collins To Avoid Lawsuits":
"When you ban fracking, you're telling all those people that paid their money, their savings, their investments to get their mineral rights now they're being taken away," Hickenlooper said to The Coloradoan. "That's called a taking."
His "compromise" is that these cities might be able to keep the ban in place if they can raise the money to compensate the oil and gas companies who are not allowed to frack.
Gee, how generous of him.
Now, for those wondering if this primary is my idea alone, read these comments from the article above:
As far as some of us Democrats are concerned, Hickenlooper need not bother to seek re-election.... wonder if Romanoff, who is not running for the House, would change his mind and seek the governorship instead? As far as this Colorado Democrat is concerned, I would vote for him over "Hickups" any day of the week.
Ridiculous! The governor is willing to compromise with an industry that will destroy our natural resources in the name of what ...jobs? They people will destroy our environment and leave..slam bam etc. Shame on you Hick!
Colorado. I've been watching this online from N.H.. Please be wary of eminent domain, It could be around the corner! Just ask land owners in Texas, who had to sell to TransCanada (thats right Canada) in the name of public good.(Keystone pipeline) THAT IS CALLED TAKING! Oh yeah and "trade secret", thats like pissing in someones pool and calling it "biological property".
I voted once for him and I think it will be the last time.
I will support Ken Salazar and 99.9% of Hispanics will too...if he runs..
Don't worry, we'll be running a primary opponent against Frackenlooper!
John's campaign slogan will be "Stick a fork in Hick,he's done"
And it goes on and on....
My environmental friends are wondering if Hickenlooper is acting so brashly against his base because maybe the administration has plans for him... who knows... but he doesn't deserve re-election from us, and I doubt the president will get involved in this race.
So who makes for the best challenger?
My choice as I mentioned before is Morgan Carroll -- she introduced several pieces of fracking legislation last year that were killed by the Republican-led house. Now she has the chance to re-introduce them in the majority and further protect cities wanting to limit fracking.
There is also Andrew Romanoff just starting his congressional race. Ken Salazar, who just stepped down as the Secretary of the Interior. Others might be Congressman Ed Perlmutter or Congresswoman Dianna Degette.
Or it could be someone else -- your thoughts?