CO Gov: Hickenlooper with Strong Lead in Three-Way Race, GOP Ballot Line Hangs in Balance

Republican Ken Buck holds a six-point lead over incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, according to the latest SurveyUSA poll of likely voters for Denver Post/9News. In the governor’s race, Democrat John Hickenlooper holds a large lead, thanks to a divide on the right between American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo and Republican Dan Maes. Maes’s numbers have been dropping so fast, it could possibly even cost the Colorado Republican party their “major party” status.

SurveyUSA (9/28-30)
Ken Buck (R) 48
Micheal Bennet (D) 43
Undecided 1

John Hickenlooper (D) 46
Tom Tancredo (AC) 34
Dan Maes (R) 15
Other 3
Undecided 2

Bennet, here trailing Buck by single digits, is basically in the same place that all polling of this race has been. Bennet is the incumbent, but he was appointed and has never won a statewide election. Trailing by six with a month until the election, does not mean Bennet is out of the game, but is still very bad news.

Thanks to the terrible candidacy of Maes and Tancredo’s bid, Hickenlooper looks to easily win the governors race by just securing a plurality with the left-leaning vote.

Even though the gubernatorial winner is not likely in doubt, the final results of this election are very important to the GOP, thanks to Colorado’s ballot laws. To be considered a “major party,” a political party needs to win 10 percent in the last governor’s contest. A strong finish could enable the American Constitutional Party to be named a major party under the law. More importantly, if Maes takes under 10 percent, which the polling indicates is at least a possibility, it could cost the Republican Party in Colorado their major party status. This means no Republican running in 2012 would be able to appear at the top of the ballot. The top two spots on the ballot could end up reserved for only the Democratic and American Constitutional parties.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at