Oct 30, 2020 | NEWS | By James Hanafee | Illustration by Patil Khakhamian
With only a few days remaining before Election Day, The Catalyst is pleased to announce its official Presidential Election predictions for 2020. The candidates, amendments, propositions, and issues listed here are those found on the ballot received by most Colorado College students. Races for judgeships have not been included. The predictions do not represent endorsements by The Catalyst nor by the author.
U.S. Senate Race
Former Governor John Hickenlooper (D) defeats incumbent Senator Cory Gardner (R). As Colorado increasingly moves toward becoming a solid-blue state, Sen. Gardner is likely fated to lose re-election. Gardner’s embrace of President Trump (whom he previously criticized) will likely alienate the independent and moderate voters he will need to overcome Gov. Hickenlooper’s innate advantage.
Incumbent Representative Doug Lamborn (R) defeats Jillian Freeland (D). Due to changing demographics in Colorado Springs, Democrats hope that they can one day contest this seat — however, that day is yet to come. In 2018, a Democratic wave year, Rep. Lamborn easily won re-election by 18 points. All signs point to a similarly comfortable re-election bid in 2020.
Colorado House of Representatives
Incumbent Representative Marc Snyder (D) defeats George Rapko (R). Rep. Snyder holds high name recognition in the district due to his tenure as Mayor of Manitou Springs and as a member of the Manitou Springs City Council. He was first elected to this seat — by a 22-point margin — in 2018, and he is highly favored to defeat political newcomer Rapko by a similar margin.
El Paso County Commissioner
Incumbent Stan VanderWerf (R) defeats Ken Schauer (D). As a county-wide elected official, VanderWerf is favored to maintain his seat due to the strong Republican lean of El Paso county. However, Schauer may make the race closer than expected due to his service in the U.S. Air Force and involvement with local labor unions.
With every election cycle in Colorado comes another attempt to circumscribe the limitations of the “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (TABOR). Amendment B, otherwise known as a repeal of the Gallagher Amendment, will result in a ‘freeze’ of residential property tax rates (which would otherwise continue to decrease over time). Though the language of the amendment clarifies that taxes will not go up, Colorado voters seem to have grown sufficiently wary of all tax-related referenda. Amendment B will not pass.
This amendment makes it easier for charities to obtain a gaming license and allows charities to hire and pay game-overseers. Given the dearth of substantive debate on this Amendment, Colorado voters’ libertarian leanings will likely favor a reduction in regulation. Amendment C will pass.
Amendment 76 eliminates 17-year-olds’ ability to vote in Colorado primary elections and prevents the state from potentially expanding the franchise to non-citizens in the future. Though the disenfranchisement of 17-year-olds will be the primarily result of this Amendment’s passage, this is not included in the actual ballot language. This fact will likely make the final vote fairly close, but Amendment 76 will fail.
This amendment will allow Colorado cities with legalized gambling to determine their own betting limits and game types (which are currently mandated by state law). Insofar as gambling is not an issue of great immediate importance to most Coloradans, it is likely that voters will approve of delegating more power to local governments. This Amendment will pass.
Colorado Springs TABOR Revenue Retention
This proposition will allow the city of Colorado Springs to retain sufficient revenue above its TABOR cap to meet its 2019 budget. Though Colorado Springs is famously tax-averse, Mayor John Suthers has been successful in convincing residents to support past tax increases for various purposes. Thus, this proposition will likely pass.
This proposition will increase the existing tobacco tax and create a new tax on e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Though past efforts to raise the tobacco tax in Colorado have failed, this vote is likely to be closely contested due to Colorado’s high rates of e-cigarette use. In a COVID-free world, this proposition may have a good chance of passing; however, it is likely that voters will look more skeptically upon all potential tax increases. This proposition will narrowly fail.
This proposition will affirm Colorado’s entrance into the National Popular Vote Compact, a group of states that pledge to give their electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote once the number of electoral college votes represented by the states in the compact exceeds 270. This proposition is extremely likely to divide the electorate among partisan lines, with Republicans in opposition and Democrats in support. However, a substantive number of Democratic-leaning independents will likely oppose this proposition, leading to a close defeat. Proposition 113 will narrowly fail.
This proposition will introduce grey wolves in Colorado. Advocacy groups on both sides of this issue have advertised heavily, but the limited polling present has shown significant support for reintroduction. This proposition will pass.
This proposition is perhaps the most visible on this year’s ballot, with multiple well-organized advocacy groups advertising heavily both in favor and opposition. This proposition will prohibit abortions after 22 weeks of gestation except for cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Colorado voters have rejected anti-abortion referenda in recent years, and it appears as though they will do so again this year as Colorado voters become more liberal. Proposition 115 will fail.
This proposition will reduce the Colorado income tax from 4.63% to 4.55%. Despite heavy advertising in opposition, Colorado voters’ disdain for taxes (as well the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic) will likely garner enough support for this measure. Proposition 116 will pass.
This proposition will require citizen approval of any new state enterprise with an expected revenue greater than $100 million a year. Another proposition that concerns the state’s ability to generate revenue outside of TABOR restrictions, the unclear ballot language and subject matter will likely result in a close race. Ultimately, the expanded citizen control over spending that will result from this proposition’s passage will likely sway enough voters in favor. This proposition will pass.
This proposition will create a new paid medical leave program in Colorado. Despite a strong grassroots movement in its favor, this proposition faces an uphill battle to passage. A 2016 referendum on the establishment of a universal healthcare program in Colorado was defeated by over 50 points, which does not bode well for this measure’s success. This proposition will fail.
El Paso County Issue 2B
This ballot issue will require voters to approve, by referendum, any transfer of city land to private entities. After a public backlash followed the city’s transfer of public lands to the Broadmoor, many citizens expressed displeasure at the lack of transparency inherent in the land transfer process. Expect this sentiment to result in significant public support. This issue will pass.
El Paso County Issue 2C
This ballot issue, in opposition to issue 2C, will only allow public parkland to be transferred to private entities if the transfer is approved by a supermajority of the Colorado Springs City Council. If both 2C and 2B pass, the measure that gets more votes will go into effect. The same popular sentiments that will allow 2B to pass will likely result in 2C’s failure. Issue 2C will not pass.
El Paso County Issue 4A
This ballot issue will allow Colorado Springs School District 11 to retain revenue above its TABOR cap. A similar measure was proposed and passed in neighboring Harrison School District several years ago, and many local officials (including the Mayor and President of City Council) have expressed their support for this Issue. Issue 4A will pass.