Oct 28, 2022 - Politics

Political Pulse: Debates dwindle in Colorado's top races and more news

Debates in competitive U.S. Senate elections
Data: Brookings Institution; Chart: Axios Visuals

Political candidates in Colorado and across the nation are forgoing debates — and their rivals want to make them pay a price.

Why it matters: Debates — once considered a frank exchange about serious issues — have become a casualty of politicians' increasing ability to bypass traditional media and avoid impromptu missteps.

By the numbers: In 2010, there were a total of 17 debates across the five most competitive Senate races. This year, there will be only six, according to Brookings.

Details: Colorado's top midterm races exemplify this trend.

  • In the U.S. Senate race, the candidates agreed to only one live televised debate, which takes place tonight on 9News. Other forums were live-streamed online.
  • Likewise, in the governor's race, the candidates participated in only one live TV debate. A second didn't materialize after Republican Heidi Ganahl objected to 9News' debate moderators.
  • In the newly drawn 8th District north of Denver, Democratic candidate Yadira Caraveo, a state lawmaker, attended one 30-minute TV debate and a joint forum. Her GOP rival, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, is accusing her of hiding and labeling her with the rhyming moniker “No show Caraveo.”

😡 In the final governor's race debate earlier this week in Grand Junction, Gov. Jared Polis landed a stinger with this line in the closing moments: "My opponent's a mad mom. I'm a happy dad."

Between the lines: It reprised a line earlier in the debate that Republican rival Heidi Ganahl owned. "I am a mad mom," she said, listing reasons that included rising crime and inflation and low testing scores in Colorado.

🚩 The most incendiary Colorado campaign ad of the 2022 midterm is aimed at Spanish-speaking voters.

What's happening: The America First Legal Foundation, a political nonprofit run by former Trump aide Stephen Miller, is sending Spanish-language mailers and producing radio ads that warn Democrats “are pushing radical and irreversible gender experiments on children."

  • It features a photo of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Rachel Levine, who is transgender, the Colorado Sun reports.

The other side: Morgan Carroll, the state Democratic Party chairperson, issued a statement calling it a "cynical use of hate speech" designed to suppress the Latino vote.

📺 Speaking of ads, expect to see plenty of them in the final 10 days of the election.

By the numbers: $26 million worth of campaign commercials are booked in Colorado, according to AdImpact Politics, a tracking outfit.


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