Colorado Politics

 

Colorado Politics and Government

A Political Overview of the State of Colorado

  • Colorado has always been regarded as one of the most important vote banks in all the Presidential elections. It has also been regarded as a swing state and has been one of the deciding vote pools of the Presidential elections.

  • A careful analysis of the political history shows that Democrats have not been the dominant political group in this state since 1920s. Numbers also show that Democrats have won from this state only five times since then.

  • Boulder County has a large concentration of Liberals while Costilla mainly supports Democrats. El Paso County however is a Republican stronghold. The state of Colorado has proven to be a crucial yet totally unpredictable state in the most recent presidential election held between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.

  • One can safely assume that, though the people of Colorado are open to hearing new ideas they would rather prefer to their old convictions. This trend can be observed if one studies their past political leanings as well.

  •  Throughout the years it has been clearly shown that majority of the population of Colorado is mainly Republican. Except for Bill Clinton, Colorado has always chosen to vote for Republicans in almost every Presidential election since the year 1964.

  • At the same time the Governor of the state of Colorado had been elected from the Democratic front for the past 22 years. This example also proves the political unpredictability of the state.

Political Initiatives for and by Voters in Colorado

  • The powers of the state government have been severely curtailed by many initiatives undertaken for and by the voters of the state.

  • Some examples of such initiatives include TABOR (Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights, 1992), Term Limits on Legislators in the year 1990 and Amendment 23 through which a fixed budget was put in place for K-12 education.

  • Some restrictions were then imposed on initiatives like TABOR and Amendment 23 by the voters themselves in the year 2005. George.W.Bush had the support of Colorado during the two Presidential elections that he participated in i.e. in 2000 and 2004.

  • Most of the state wide offices and seats in the state legislature have been occupied by Republicans.

Changing Tastes of the People of Colorado

  • Recent studies have continued to show an increasing support for the Democrats and Independents in the state of Colorado. A lot of Hispanic population and people belonging to different races and cultures are migrating to Colorado.

  •  The numbers are swelling to the extent that they are responsible to the current shifts and changes in the political scenario.

  • Even though Bush might have won the 2004 elections, Democrats secured their grip as Ken Salazar, a democrat, won a seat in the U.S. Senate. John Salazar was elected for a seat in the U.S. House.

  • The Democrats are thus expanding their reach in the state legislature. In the year 2006 too Bill Ritter, a Democrat became a Governor after winning by 16 points while Ed Perlmutter got a U.S. House seat. Barack Obama also secured a lot of support in the Presidential elections of 2008 against John McCain.

  • Senator Wayne Allard has recently retired and this has led to an intense race for a senate seat between Mark Udall a democrat and Bob Schaffer who is a Republican.

Political Statistics of the State of Colorado

  • After the 2008 Presidential elections Democrats are the dominant group as they control 21 seats while the Republicans have control over 14 seats.

  • Peter Groff is the highest ranking African American political official publicly elected in Colorado’s history while Terrance Carroll has the honor of being the 1st Afro American Speaker of the house in the state of Colorado.

Even in the House of Representatives of Colorado, the Democrats dominate in numbers.

Presidential Elections Results

 

Year Republican Democratic
2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453

 

Governors of the Territory of Colorado

 

Governor Took Office Left Office Appointed by
William Gilpin 01861-03-25 March 25, 1861 01862-03-26 March 26, 1862 Abraham Lincoln
John Evans 01862-03-26 March 26, 1862 01865-10-17 October 17, 1865 Abraham Lincoln
Alexander Cummings 01865-10-17 October 17, 1865 01867-04-24 April 24, 1867 Andrew Johnson
Alexander Cameron Hunt 01867-04-24 April 24, 1867 01869-06-14 June 14, 1869 Andrew Johnson
.Edward M. McCook 01869-06-14 June 14, 1869 01873 1873 Ulysses S. Grant
Samuel Hitt Elbert 01873-04-04 April 4, 1873 01874 1874 Ulysses S. Grant
Edward M. McCook 01874-06-19 June 19, 1874 01875-03-29 March 29, 1875 Ulysses S. Grant
John Long Routt 01875-03-29 March 29, 1875 01876-08-01 August 1, 1876 Ulysses S. Grant

 

Governors of the State of Colorado

 

# Governor Term Start Term End Party Lt. Governor Terms
1 John Long Routt August 1, 1876 January 14, 1879 Republican Lafayette Head 1
2 Frederick Walker Pitkin January 14, 1879 January 9, 1883 Republican Horace Austin Warner Tabor 2
3 James Benton Grant January 9, 1883 January 13, 1885 Democratic William H. Meyer
1
4 Benjamin Harrison Eaton January 13, 1885 January 11, 1887 Republican Peter W. Breene 1
5 Alva Adams January 11, 1887 January 8, 1889 Democratic Norman H. Meldrum 1
6 Job Adams Cooper January 8, 1889 January 13, 1891 Republican William Grover Smith 1
7 John Long Routt January 13, 1891 January 10, 1893 Republican William Story 1
8 Davis Hanson Waite January 10, 1893 January 8, 1895 Populist David Hopkinson Nichols 1
9 Albert Washington McIntire January 8, 1895 January 12, 1897 Republican Jared L. Brush 1
10 Alva Adams January 12, 1897 January 10, 1899 Democratic Jared L. Brush 1
11 Charles Spalding Thomas January 10, 1899 January 8, 1901 Democratic Francis Patrick Carney
1
12 James Bradley Orman January 8, 1901 January 13, 1903 Democratic David C. Coates
1
13 James Hamilton Peabody January 13, 1903 January 10, 1905 Republican Warren A. Haggott
1
14 Alva Adams January 10, 1905 March 17, 1905 Democratic Arthur Cornforth 1⁄3
15 James Hamilton Peabody March 17, 1905 March 17, 1905 Republican Jesse Fuller McDonald 1⁄3
16 Jesse Fuller McDonald March 17, 1905 January 8, 1907 Republican Fred W. Parks 1⁄3
17 Henry Augustus Buchtel January 8, 1907 January 12, 1909 Republican Erastus Harper 1
18 John F. Shafroth January 12, 1909 January 14, 1913 Democratic Stephen R. Fitzgarrald 2
19 Elias M. Ammons January 14, 1913 January 12, 1915 Democratic Stephen R. Fitzgarrald 1
20 George Alfred Carlson January 12, 1915 January 9, 1917 Republican Moses E. Lewis 1
21 Julius Caldeen Gunter January 9, 1917 January 14, 1919 Democratic James A. Pulliam 1
22 Oliver Henry Shoup January 14, 1919 January 9, 1923 Republican George Stepham 2
Earl Cooley
23 William Ellery Sweet January 9, 1923 January 13, 1925 Democratic Robert F. Rockwell
1
24 Clarence Morley January 13, 1925 January 11, 1927 Republican Sterling Byrd Lacy
1
25 Billy Adams January 11, 1927 January 10, 1933 Democratic George Milton Corlett
3
Edwin C. Johnson
26 Edwin C. Johnson January 10, 1933 January 1, 1937 Democratic Ray Herbert Talbot 1 1⁄2
27 Ray Herbert Talbot January 1, 1937 January 12, 1937 Democratic   1⁄2
28 Teller Ammons January 12, 1937 January 10, 1939 Democratic Frank J. Hayes 1
29 Ralph Lawrence Carr January 10, 1939 January 12, 1943 Republican John Charles Vivian 2
30 John Charles Vivian January 12, 1943 January 14, 1947 Republican William Eugene Higby 2
31 William Lee Knous January 14, 1947 April 15, 1950 Democratic Homer L. Pearson 1 1⁄2
Walter Walford Johnson
32 Walter Walford Johnson April 15, 1950 January 9, 1951 Democratic Charles P. Murphy
1⁄2
33 Daniel I.J. Thornton January 9, 1951 January 11, 1955 Republican Gordon L. Allott 2
34 Edwin C. Johnson January 11, 1955 January 8, 1957 Democratic Stephen L.R. McNichols 1
35 Stephen L.R. McNichols January 8, 1957 January 8, 1963 Democratic Frank L. Hays
2
Robert Lee Knous
36 John Arthur Love January 8, 1963 July 16, 1973 Republican Robert Lee Knous
2 1⁄2
Mark Anthony Hogan
John David Vanderhoof
37 John David Vanderhoof July 16, 1973 January 14, 1975 Republican Ted L. Strickland 1⁄2
38 Richard "Dick" Lamm January 14, 1975 January 13, 1987 Democratic George L. Brown 3
Nancy E. Dick
39 Roy Romer January 13, 1987 January 12, 1999 Democratic Mike Callihan 3
Samuel H. Cassidy
Gail Schoettler
40 Bill Owens January 12, 1999 January 9, 2007 Republican Joe Rogers 2
Jane E. Norton
41 Bill Ritter January 9, 2007 Incumbent Democratic Barbara O'Brien 1

 

Other High Offices Held

 

Governor Gubernatorial Term Other Offices Held
Charles Spalding Thomas 1899–1901 U.S. Senator
John Franklin Shafroth 1909–1913 U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator
Edwin Carl Johnson 1933–1937, 1955–1957 U.S. Senator*

 

Living Former Governors

 

Governor Term of Office Date of Birth
John David Vanderhoof 1973–1975 May 27, 1922 (1922-05-27) (age 88)
Richard "Dick" Lamm 1975–1987 September 12, 1935 (1935-09-12) (age 74)
Roy Romer 1987–1999 October 31, 1928 (1928-10-31) (age 81)
Bill Owens 1999–2007 October 22, 1950 (1950-10-22) (age 59)

 

List of United States Senators from Colorado

Class 2

 

# Senator Party Took Office Left Office Other Offices Term
1 Henry M. Teller Republican November 15, 1876 April 17, 1882 U.S. Secretary of the Interior
(1882–1885)
Also served in Colorado's Class 3 seat
(1885-1909)
1
2
Vacant April 17, 1882 April 17, 1882
2 George M. Chilcott Republican April 17, 1882 January 27, 1883 Territorial Delegate to the U.S. Congress
3 Horace Tabor Republican January 27, 1883 March 4, 1883 Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
(1879–1883)
4 Thomas M. Bowen Republican March 4, 1883 March 4, 1889 Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court
(1867–1871)
Governor of Idaho Territory
(1871)
3
5 Edward O. Wolcott Republican March 4, 1889 March 4, 1901 4
5
6 Thomas M. Patterson Democratic March 4, 1901 March 4, 1907 6
7 Simon Guggenheim Republican March 4, 1907 March 4, 1913 7
8 John F. Shafroth Democratic March 4, 1913 March 4, 1919 Governor of Colorado
(1908–1912)
8
9 Lawrence C. Phipps Republican March 4, 1919 March 4, 1931 9
10
10 Edward P. Costigan Democratic March 4, 1931 January 3, 1937 11
11 Edwin C. Johnson Democratic January 3, 1937 January 3, 1955 Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
(1931–1933)
Governor of Colorado
(1933–1937; 1955–1957)
12
13
14
12 Gordon L. Allott Republican January 3, 1955 January 3, 1973 Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
(1951–1955)
15
16
17
13 Floyd K. Haskell Democratic January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979 18
14 William L. Armstrong Republican January 3, 1979 January 3, 1991 Colorado Senate Majority Leader
(1969–1972)
19
20
15 Hank Brown Republican January 3, 1991 January 3, 1997 21
16 Wayne Allard Republican January 3, 1997 January 3, 2009 22
23
17 Mark Udall Democratic January 3, 2009 Incumbent 24

 

Class 3

 

# Senator Party Took Office Left Office Other Offices Term
1 Jerome B. Chaffee Republican November 15, 1876 March 4, 1879 Speaker of the Colorado Territorial House of Representatives
(1863)
1
2 Nathaniel P. Hill Republican March 4, 1879 March 4, 1885   2
3 Henry M. Teller Republican March 4, 1885 March 4, 1909 U.S. Secretary of the Interior
(1882–1885)
Also served in Colorado's Class 2 seat
3
Silver Republican 4
Democratic 5
6
4 Charles J. Hughes, Jr. Democratic March 4, 1909 January 11, 1911   7
Vacant January 11, 1911 January 15, 1913
5 Charles S. Thomas Democratic January 15, 1913 March 4, 1921 Governor of Colorado
(1899–1901)
8
6 Samuel D. Nicholson Republican March 4, 1921 March 24, 1923   9
Vacant March 24, 1923 May 17, 1923
7 Alva B. Adams Democratic May 17, 1923 November 30, 1924  
8 Rice W. Means Republican December 1, 1924 March 4, 1927  
9 Charles W. Waterman Republican March 4, 1927 August 27, 1932   10
Vacant August 27, 1932 September 26, 1932
10 Walter Walker Democratic September 26, 1932 December 1, 1932  
11 Karl C. Schuyler Republican December 7, 1932 March 4, 1933  
12 Alva B. Adams Democratic March 4, 1933 December 1, 1941   11
12
Vacant December 1, 1941 December 20, 1941
13 Eugene Millikin Republican December 20, 1941 January 3, 1957  
13
14
14 John A. Carroll Democratic January 3, 1957 January 3, 1963   15
15 Peter H. Dominick Republican January 3, 1963 January 3, 1975 Ambassador to Switzerland
(1975)
16
17
16 Gary Hart Democratic January 3, 1975 January 3, 1987   18
19
17 Tim Wirth Democratic January 3, 1987 January 3, 1993   20
18 Ben Nighthorse Campbell Democratic January 3, 1993 January 3, 2005   21
Republican
22
19 Ken Salazar Democratic January 3, 2005 January 20, 2009 Colorado Attorney General
(1999–2005)
U.S. Secretary of the Interior
(2009—present)
23
20 Michael Bennet Democratic January 21, 2009 Incumbent