I'm sure many of you know how competitive Colorado is, on many levels, in the upcoming election. As farleftfagala went into in great detail on 9/25 in his diary, "Retaking the Colorado House (September)," the State House is particularly competitive. While our Senate has a five seat democratic majority going into November, the Republicans have controlled by a mere ONE SEAT majority in the House. That single seat, of course, is why the lovely Frank McNulty is Speaker for the House, giving him the power to, among many other less-noted actions, single-handedly crush the Civil Unions bill in May by sending it to his "kill committee" (on my birthday no less… if it had been horrible enough already, that made it personal).
I was recently hired by NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, the leading political action organization in our state's pro-choice movement, to recruit volunteers for phone-banking outreach in support of Pete Lee's reelection in Colorado's House District 18. We currently have no existing ground operation in El Paso County, so my job is to rally whatever I can to help defend this critical House seat. I'm asking for Coloradans in the DailyKos community who are able to spare a few hours making calls with us. We will be educating voters previously identified as supporters of pro-choice issues as well as likely supporters. Our goal is to make sure Pete Lee's voters know how close they are to losing their Representative if they don't show up and vote down the ballot.
A little background on the election after the flip...
Pete Lee, elected in 2010, is currently the only House Democrat from the spectacularly conservative El Paso County (there are only three races with a Democratic candidate bothering to even run). HD18 encompasses the only liberally minded areas of El Paso County: downtown Colorado Springs and our lovely neighbor Manitou Springs. Redistricting, however, has made this district vulnerable to fall into Republican hands, and they have made it a priority target this November.
The Republican candidate, Jennifer George, is very well funded and is running a smart campaign that avoids riling up the liberal inclinations of much of the district. Essentially, she is saying nothing at all. There is so little on the record for her that it's unnerving. One endorsement, from the Colorado Springs Business Journal, likens her to Hilary Clinton over Sarah Palin, due to her moderate conservatism compared to the ultraconservatives in other districts. Yet for all the praise being doled out, the endorsement's author only learned from George's website that she's for "smart government, strong communities and a free economy." While he eagerly attacks typical Republican as "lunatics," to whom George is "obviously too smart and too sensible to kowtow," the only great thing about her the author can find, is that she doesn't actually vocalize the Republican agendas that would guarantee a backlash from liberals.
NARAL, and many others, have been unable to get a single answer on record for questions regarding women's health issues. If she actually has moderate positions and would stand up to Republican extremism, she should say so. If she can't comment on something as mundane as requiring policies to cover mammograms, she would certainly not speak out against Republican leadership. The voters who oppose the issues touted by "typical gay-bashing, gun-toting, tea-partying ultraconservative Republican," need to know how close this election actually is and why they are needed at the poles.
You can visit the candidates sites listed below to see more. There is almost no media coverage of the race to point you towards, unfortunately, which is a big part of the problem.
Anybody who can lend a hand, please get in touch with me and let me know your availability. While we're particularly looking for local volunteers, anyone can be set up to phone bank from home… I just won't be able to provide your food.
P.S. I'm inexperienced at writing blogs and such things, as my background is in canvassing and direct contact, so I apologize if this has any glaring deficiencies or breaches in protocol… your advice on the matter welcome. I also would love to hear any ideas for organizing more volunteers in the area; there isn't much time left before election day so things need to get moving as fast as possible.