By all the public polling, Democrats should really be sweating the Colorado Senate race at this point. Democratic Sen. Mark Udall trails his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, by more than 5 points on average. Election forecasters have pegged Colorado (along with Iowa) as the most likely election to swing control of the Senate.
But Democrats believe they've seen this movie before. In the 2010 Colorado Senate campaign, Democratic nominee Michael Bennet trailed (or was at best tied) in the last 11 polls of his race against Republican Ken Buck. But then on Election Day, Bennet eked out a less-than-1 point win, a rare bright spot in an otherwise tough cycle for Democrats. The win was attributed by the press to his campaign's singular focus on two core Democratic constituencies -- women and Hispanics -- and an unprecedented, data-driven get-out-the-vote effort.
Now Bennet is the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the DSCC has attracted headlines for exporting the Bennet model in 2014 to other tough races like Arkansas and Louisiana in a $60 million effort named for Bannock Street, where Bennet's campaign offices were located in Denver.
But in an ironic twist, the model may be put to its severest test right back where it began, in Colorado, where Democrats are hoping to recreate the Bennet 2010 magic to pull out a win for Udall.
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