First off, I would like to applaud Governor John Hickenlooper (D. CO) for this:


John Hickenlooper said Sunday he has changed his mind since his first run for governor and now opposes the death penalty, but the immediate fate of convicted killer-turned-campaign-issue Nathan Dunlap is still unclear.
The next governor will decide when or if the man who killed four restaurant employees, including three teenagers, in 1993 will be put to death.

If it’s Hickenlooper’s Republican challenger, Bob Beauprez, there’s little doubt. “When I’m governor, Nathan Dunlap will be executed,” Beauprez said with authority to applause in a Colorado Christian University GOP debate in May.

Hickenlooper’s change of heart comes a year after he undermined a Democratic legislative push to repeal the state’s death penalty by suggesting he would veto it, which was two months before he gave Dunlap a “temporary reprieve” on his death sentence. - Denver Post, 8/18/14

I personally am opposed to the death penalty and I am on the fence on whether it should be a state decided issue. But I applaud Hickenlooper for showing some courage on this issue. Of course the GOP is already attacking him on this issue:


Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez said the way Hickenlooper stayed Dunlap’s execution leaves the issue unresolved.

“The issue of capital punishment is a difficult one that we wrestle with as a society. That’s why it’s hard to understand John Hickenlooper’s actions in light of these new statements,” Beauprez said in a statement. “If he truly does oppose the death penalty, he should have commuted Nathan Dunlap’s sentence instead of leaving the decision to the next governor. As Colorado’s next governor, I will see that justice is served.”

On Tuesday, the Republican Governors Association launched a television ad in Colorado hammering Hickenlooper on the death penalty. The ad says that “when it comes to making the tough decisions, Hickenlooper won’t step up to the table.”

In response, Hickenlooper has continued with his pledge to run a positive campaign and not engage with opponents’ attacks. His campaign released a statement countering the Republican Governors Association’s ad by saying Colorado’s unemployment rate is now at 5.3 percent, compared with just over 9 percent when Hickenlooper took office four years ago.

Recent polls have shown the race to be tied, adding more weight to issues that come up on the campaign.

“In a race that is viewed as being competitive, anything can matter,” said Norman Provizer, a professor of political science at Metropolitan State University of Denver. But, he said, he’s skeptical the death penalty is at the forefront of voters’ minds. - CBS Denver, 8/19/14

Hickenlooper certainly has a great record of economic progress to run on:


Hickenlooper offered his own video, accompanied by a press release titled, “Hickenlooper releases positive video in response to negative ad launched by Republican Governors Association today.”

“Four years ago we promised to run a positive campaign, and we did,” Hickenlooper said in the release. “We took the same approach across Colorado. We promised to focus on the economy and we did right away. Colorado has improved from 40th to fourth in the nation for job creation. And unemployment is down from 9.1 percent to 5.3 percent. In September 2013 when floods devastated our communities, we promised to get all roads and bridges open by December 1st, and we did before Thanksgiving. Keeping promises, working together, delivering results — that’s how we move Colorado up.”

So far, the strong Colorado economy has been a focus of Hickenlooper’s campaign, a topic Beauprez has said he too would press with a critical assessment of the incumbent’s work. - Denver Post, 8/19/14

And we all know why Colorado's economy is booming:


When Colorado voters passed a ballot measure in 2012 legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) was in the minority voting no. But two years later, eight months into the legalization experiment, Hickenlooper says he’s pleased with the way his state has handled voters’ wishes.

“I think [state regulators have] done a pretty good job. Not perfect, but all things considered, I think they’ve done a very good job,” he said in an interview in his office at the state Capitol. “I’m a constant-improvement person, so I always see ways to make things better.”

State officials are continuing to fine-tune regulations on the nascent cannabis industry. This month, the Department of Revenue issued draft rules that would limit the amount of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, to 10 milligrams from 100 milligrams in serving sizes of edible pot products. The rules would also require child-proof packaging and clear labels identifying the product inside as containing THC.

State legislators passed a law in May creating a task force to propose the rules on edibles after an increase in the number of children visiting emergency rooms after ingesting edible marijuana products.

Tax revenue from legal marijuana sales has fallen short of expectations, though. A recent study by the Department of Revenue found that Colorado earned about $12 million from marijuana sales through the first half of the year, just over a third of the $33 million analysts expected.

But those initial estimates, Hickenlooper said, missed because budget analysts had no comparison. - Washington Post, 8/19/14

Plus Democrats already have something to hit Beuprez on:


Colorado Democrats accuse GOP gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez of putting "politics before disaster relief" in a digital video ad to be rolled out Wednesday.

The ad sets the tone by showing footage of the floods, which began the evening of September 11, and pivots to the government shutdown, which began on October 1.

Then the video features an audio clip of Beauprez on a Wisconsin radio program from October 4 in which he says, "I am a Republican, and I served with many of these Republicans who are currently steering the train… I've been very, very proud of them."

Democrats portray this as cheering for the shutdown while disaster struck.

"Instead of standing up for the hard working people devastated by natural disaster, Congressman Beauprez defended his Tea Party friends and rooted for Washington, D.C. dysfunction," said state Democratic party chairman Rick Palacio. - 9 News, 8/20/14

We have a tough race here for sure but it's one Hickenlooper can still win. Click here to donate and get involved with his campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 03:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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