by Andrea Mérida Cuéllar, co-chair, Green Party of Colorado
Our party had a great result in this year’s elections, and two out of four of our attempted races were won. I thought I would offer a recap and some thoughts. We have much to be proud of.
LAFAYETTE – MERRILY MAZZA FOR CITY COUNCIL
Merrily has been re-elected to a two-year seat, which was a “choose 4” race. She faced a tough battle and was targeted by the pro-fracking Democrat establishment supported by Jared Polis and was always very outspoken about her naked disdain for Democrat pro-corporate politics. Merrily spent just under $1,000 for her campaign, all self-funded.
Results are here: http://clerk.boco.solutions/ElectionResults2017C/
Major props go out to Longmont Green Party and Poudre Valley Green Party for phone banking for her pretty often, and Denver and Pikes folks also lent a hand. We helped her set up a robocall campaign, provided tactical and messaging support, and we put up a rudimentary website for her on the state party’s Nationbuilder site.
THORNTON – STEVEN CERVANTES FOR CITY COUNCIL
This newcomer came up a little short, but he is definitely better known in the community. He spent something like $600 on his campaign, from his own pocket. He put up his own site and social media, and Adams County Green Party gave him a little support. Props go to Adams County Green Party co-chair, Roberta Ayala, for working with him on his messaging and outreach and for some tactical advice. Seventeen percent of the vote is no small feat for an unknown newcomer to politics.
Results are here: http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/Adams/71805/Web02/#/
DENVER – JULIE BANUELOS FOR DENVER SCHOOL BOARD, AT LARGE
We couldn’t be more proud of Julie, because she’s put the Denver Green Party on the map with the broad coalition of progressive, grassroots organizations that she pulled together. Julie got 24.26% of the vote, or 29,439 votes (final unofficial). This represents the highest vote totals in the party’s history in Denver, in a voting district that is essentially contiguous with Congressional District 1. The last citywide race for us was for CD1 in 2012, and Julie nearly QUINTUPLED those votes from Denver county alone. She did it spending less than 65 cents per vote, which is statistically unheard-of in modern politics. Via her outreach, we know that people who voted for her would not have voted at all, were she not on the ballot.
By comparison, the last statewide election vote totals were 36,805 or 1.3% of the statewide vote. In Denver county, that candidate got 5,770 votes, or 1.76%.
Results as of now are here: https://www.denvergov.org/electionresults#/results/20171107
OURAY – BRYAN WILLIAMS FOR OURAY SCHOOL DISTRICT R-1 SCHOOL BOARD
Bryan is our sleeper candidate, because the state party even knew he decided to run. He edged out a transplant real estate developer from the Front Range, and since Ouray is an openly-socialist local, this is an especially cool development. He came in 3rd out of a four-way race for 3 positions, and he only missed second place by 19 votes. The Ouray local came out in full force for him, first petitioning and then campaigning.
Results are here: http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/Ouray/71849/Web02/#/cid/9
1. The time for joke or ironic candidacies in Colorado is over. If you are not serious about running a legitimate campaign, consider de-affiliating and running as an unaffiliated candidate instead. We don’t have to settle for candidates that don’t represent our best interests or who don’t represent the party well.
2. Our Green progressive/socialist candidates are pulling votes away from Democratic candidates, but only when they run legitimate campaigns.
3. In the districts where our candidates ran, Colorado is ready to hear an unapologetic, ruthlessly anti-Democrat and anti-oppression message.
4. It’s time for us to make our own internal assessments about capacity. Where we were able to focus resources, we had good outcomes. In 2018, state party leadership will be making assessments of whether locals are ready to canvass, phone bank or fundraise. There will be a focus on party building for now.
5. With the exception of Boulder and Jeffco, all the Front Range locals helped shoulder the load for Julie, Merrily and Steven in some way or another. Even the Green Party of the Pikes Peak Region got into the game with some phone banking from Colorado Springs.
6. We need to FUNDRAISE, and we need to start talking about a Green Victory PAC (non-corporate) or small donor committee for GPCO candidates. State Treasurer Josh James is setting up a monthly recurring sustaining donation option on the website, and we will soon kick off a robust conversation about state-level dues within our state council.
All in all, it seems to met at least that for the time being, local races are really where we need to focus, especially to build a bench and some more campaign skills in our locals. I don’t speak for anyone but myself when I say this, but I remain unconvinced that we should be running a gubernatorial candidate at all, in light of this. That, of course, is a democratic decision that will be made at the next state meeting in April-ish.
Good work, team. Let’s build from here!