This is my 54th year in Colorado politics. After a stint in the U.S. Army Engineers, I enrolled at the University of Colorado in 1948 and immediately joined the Young Republicans. We were in the middle of a presidential primary fight between Tom Dewey and Harold Stassen.
My candidate, Dewey, won. I was so certain he would beat Truman, I bet my mustache. Late on that November's Tuesday night radio election news and into early Wednesday morning, I lay on my bed listening to H.V. Kaltenborn, who kept saying "Well, the midwest results are not in yet, and they will put Dewey over the top." When I woke up, I shaved off my mustache and never wore one again.
The following year at age 21, I registered as a Democrat.
Colorado went for Truman in 1948. The Colorado House went Democratic 41 to 24. The Senate remained Republican, 21 to 14. Even so, that was a six member Democratic gain in the Senate and the number of House and Senate Democratic legislators had gone from 27 to 55.
Ed Johnson, Democrat, defeated Republican Will Nicholson for U.S. Senator, 340,000 to 165,000. Democrat Lee Knous defeated Republican David Hamil for governor, 332,000 to 169,000.
Of the four Congressional seats, three were won by Democrats, who also swept the Colorado executive branch from secretary of state to attorney general. And Democrats won both elective races for the Colorado Supreme Court.
Thirty years ago, there were still more registered Democrats than Republicans in Colorado, but Republicans were continual legislative winners. Between November, 1972 through December, 2000, Senate Republicans won 14 elections, and Democrats, one. House Republicans won 14 elections and Democrats, one.
But Coloradoans still wanted balance. During that 30 year span, Republicans held the majority in the House and Senate plus the governorship only twice, 1973-74 and 1999-2000... until Nov.5, 2002.
These next two years will again provide Gov. Bill Owens with a House and Senate under Republican control. It is fun to have all the marbles, but a word of caution. Excuses won't work. Republicans will get deserved credit for accomplishments and responsibility for failures.
If you haven't had enough politics, Denver's election is only six months away, and the 2004 election starts about June of next year.
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)
Copyright 2015 Jerry Kopel & David Kopel