Musgrave Facing 3rd Party Challenge From Republican Moderate in CO-04

Marilyn Musgrave (hisss) appears to be in a three-way fight for CO-04 with moderate Republican Eric Eidsness jumping the GOP to run under the banner of the Reform Party. Eidsness isn't a random maverick, his credentials go back to Reagan's Cabinet and a six year stint with the EPA. The Dem in the race is Angie Paccione, an energetic, smart campaigner who already has the capability of challenging the evil lady in pink.

According to an article in the Denver Post, Eidsness faced intense pressure not to run against Musgrave in a primary. Also, the moderate wing within the Republican Party, has been unable to stand up to the extremist wing, led by hard-line Christians and the anti-tax/anti-government ideologues.

Will the third candidate give Republicans a way to vote against Musgrave without going Democrat, or will a moderate Republican pull votes away from Paccione? More, plus quotes from the Denver Post after the fold.

Colorado's District CO-04 covers the thinly populated Eastern plains, with population centers along the North I-25 corridor. The rural demographics has been increasingly swamped by so-called "exurb" growth. This district runs pretty conservative as the Reps have a 40% vs 25% registration advantage over the Dems, with another 34% independent. Bush swamped Kerry with 57% to 36%. However Musgrave's anti-gay, religious-right extremism turned off sufficient voters that she only received 51% in 2004.

The district is about 20% hispanic, but turnout has been low. Another argument that immigration has the potential of benefiting the Democrats.

The big question for us all as Bush's popularity crumbles and Conservative policies prove unsuccessful. Do the moderate Republicans jump ship or just sit out?

From the Denver Post:

Musgrave, a conservative Christian, is finishing up a second term in Congress after a highly visible first term. Raised in Greeley, Musgrave, a former state senator and state representative, authored a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and woman only.

Paccione, like Musgrave, cut her political teeth in the Colorado legislature. Representing House District 53 for the past four years, Paccione has served as vice chairwoman of the Education Committee.

A native New Yorker, Paccione received a basketball scholarship to Stanford University, from which she graduated with a political science degree. She played professional basketball, moved to Colorado in 1985 and worked in education. Paccione received a Ph.D. in education from CSU, where she also taught. She lives in Fort Collins.

Reform candidate Eidsness served as an officer in the Navy during the Vietnam War, including tours with a salvage team. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, with a degree in civil engineering, Eidsness is a former vice president with CH2M Hill. A former Republican, Eidsness was nominated by President Reagan to a Cabinet-level position in the Environmental Protection Agency in 1981. He served with the EPA for six years.

The 4th Congressional District is made up of 15 counties and a portion of three others, including most of Weld County. It covers all the Eastern Plains counties bordering Kansas and heads west along the Wyoming border into Larimer County.

Higher gas and energy costs are putting the squeeze on farmers in Colorado and elsewhere, and farming constituents are placing more demands on elected representatives for economic relief.

Once a predominately rural district, the 4th has seen its constituency reshaped amid Colorado's growth as farmland gives way to urban and suburban communities.

Tags: Angie Paccione, CO-04, House 2006, Marilyn Musgrave (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

Well

This does give Paccione some more hope if Musgrave alienates moderate Republicans away from her. Still I maintain that this is a very tough district for her.

Redistricting conceded districts 1 and 2 to the Democrats (Beauprez is an outlier) and districts 4, 5, and 6 to the Republicans. The only true competetive districts are probably the 3rd and the 7th.

Paccione may be able to fare well in the district's urban precincts (Fort Collins, Longmont, Fort Morgan, Greeley, and Loveland). However, when the rural precincts report, Musgrave will overwhelm her.

The district includes some of the most Republican counties in Colorado. The counties of the Eastern plains vote more like Kansas and Nebraska than Colorado. These counties--Kit Carson, Bent, Baca, Prowers, Kit Carson, Kiowa, Logan, Phillips, Otero, Cheyenne, Yuma, Washington, Sedgwick, Crowley, and Washington--voted for Bush with punishing margins. In most of these counties Bush won more than 70% of the vote. In one or two of these counties he even polled more than 80% of the vote!!!!  

So somehow Paccione will have to be able to fare well in the rural part of the district or at least keep Musgrave from winning 3-1. If she can hold Musgrave there to perhaps 55-60% of the vote, Paccione might be able to eke out a win.

by jiacinto 2006-05-08 02:39PM | 0 recs
The Rural Counties only add up to 18%

82% of CO-04 is Larimer Cnty, Weld Cnty & City of Longmont.

But, your primary point is correct: the district favors the Republicans. The growth in Ft Collins & Greeley, has followed the exurb model.

Again, hispanic ethnicity is 20% but turnout has historically low as hispanics never felt like the politicians cared much about them. A lot of the non-white population in CO-04 goes back to migrants who became citizens decades ago.

Ironically, the wild card may be the rural farmers who rely on immigrant labor to eke out a small profit.  We're not talking the white-rich Southern suburbs of Denver where Tom Tancredo's anti-immigrant screed seems to resonate.

by MetaData 2006-05-08 04:06PM | 0 recs
Well

Even if Paccione fares well in the majority of the district's population centers, unless she carries by a very solid margin, if Musgrave gets 70% or more of the vote in the Plains, she can overcome Paccione if she gets only 53-55% of the vote in the district's urban parts.

Think of it this way. Clark County accounts for 75% of Nevada's votes. Kerry won about 52% of the vote there. Yet Bush dominated Kerry by a 3-1 margin in rural Nevada, which enabled the state to turn red on election night.

by jiacinto 2006-05-08 04:21PM | 0 recs

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