Well it’s all over but the certification. We did it! Weld Dems worked hard, showed up and made a difference. Now that Weld County is considerably redistricted, we saw some hopeful change that can help keep the momentum of Donkey Power pulling forward. Republicans still out number us in Weld, but the playing field gets a little more level every year. For the first time, we elected five local, county-based candidates. Although, only Mary Young and Joe Neguse actually won their races in Weld County. Now that we are a part of so many multi-county districts, our neighbors helped contribute to Weld County becoming a little less red. With the help of Dems in other counties, several district races, including Congressional and House, as well as State School Board, were able to win.
The unpredictable wild card in all of this are the Unaffiliated voters. Overall, more Weld voters participated in this mid-term election than in 2018. Over 3000 more voters participated, but how they participated is something we will need to work on. We must convince voters to vote down ballot. The failure of this is quite evident in how people voted.
In Weld, 128,605 voters, from all party affiliations, voted. The Governor’s race showed an increase of about 3300 over the 125,372 in 2018. Governor Polis received nearly 6,000 more Democrat votes in Weld for these 2022 midterms than when he ran in 2018. However, these numbers were entirely different for almost all other races. Statewide candidate races saw considerable county increases in voter turnout, much like for the Governor, but not nearly the same number of votes. Often the other candidates received 3000-4000 fewer votes than the Governor did even though all were on the same ballot. However, all statewide candidates had more votes than when they ran in 2018. Bennet, Griswold, Weiser and Young received about 2500 3000 more Democratic votes in Weld County than they did in 2018, which may have made a difference in the outcome of their races. Other statewide races for CU Regent and State School Board also saw considerably fewer voters than the Governor.
What this shows, is that many voters only voted for the statewide candidates and ballot issues, the turnout for the other races does in no way match what happened for the statewide races. For example; in 2018, 22,783 voters voted in HD 50. In 2022, that voter turnout dropped to 17,466. Mary Young received about 3600 fewer votes than the race in 2018, but still won her race. Granted, all these districts have had some change of boundaries, so it may not be entirely accurate or fair to be compared to previous years, although HD 50 is nearly the same and the only district completely within Weld County.
What this says to me is, that voters of all parties mostly voted for the statewide races in Weld and for ballot issues, and voters did not consistently vote, or vote down ballot, for the other races. Primarily I believe this was because they were not familiar with the candidates, nor did they take the time to investigate anything about them. Voters, especially Dem and Unaffiliated voters, do not consistently vote down ballot. That is something we will need to put some effort into changing, by training our electorate on the importance of supporting all Democratic candidates. It is difficult to confirm what the impetus for this increase in voter turnout really involved. Was it the Dodd decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the disgust with election denier candidates, the insurrection and the Trump effect, or the shot of hope from redistricting and the new partnership with Dems from other counties that influenced voters? Or, were the increased Democrat votes due to our get-out-the-vote efforts, an increase in Hispanic voters and the massive voter registration we did in Weld County?
Whatever the reasons, the outcome was very encouraging not only for what was achieved in Weld County, but throughout the state. Not only is there a Democrat majority in the State House and Senate but all of the statewide Democratic candidates won their races. In addition, for the first time in the 146 years of Colorado statehood, women are the majority of representatives. There is no question now that Colorado is a solidly blue state, and really has been for decades, despite the outer border rural counties, including Weld. So much of the success of our efforts this year, I believe, are due to the many hardworking volunteers. I do want to thank you, everyone, who contributed time and money and expertise to the efforts. We need to keep this momentum going and continue to engage the Hispanic community and young Democrats and encourage them to get involved with the party, and not just during caucus, primary and elections.
I do hope that you will come and join us on December 10 th at our annual Christmas Party which will be in downtown Greeley in the Dance Conservatory building next to Tightknit brewery. It’s a pot luck and we will have a bake sale and an ugly Christmas Sweater contest. Come have a beer and join the festivities. Then, on January 8, please come and check out our new office space at our open house on January 8 th . We have a lot to celebrate and I hope you can join in.
Beverly Wallace, Chair of the Weld County Democratic Party