COLORADO — Colorado Republicans felt generally disappointing results after pre-election hopes of a so-called "red wave" to make progress at the state level. Now, the discussion surrounds what went wrong and maybe a new strategy for the party.
Neal Schuerer, former Iowa state senator and volunteer for Republican candidate Heidi Ganahl's gubernatorial campaign, said the GOP needs to focus on gaining unaffiliated voters. In Colorado, over 45% of active voters are unaffiliated, with the largest age group not tied to a party between 25 and 34 years old.
"If we want to win elections and have our views and values presented, we need to get those folks to address it and we need to figure out what they're thinking, you know, what are the important things for them?" said Schuerer.
Josh Dunn, a political science professor at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, said election night was a grim evening for republicans all around.
"I think in Colorado, the problem for republicans might be that the republican label is just very toxic at the moment. They are going to have to rebuild some trust with voters. How they do that? I don't know," Dunn said.
One thing he attests to is that the narrative of election denying is not good for a campaign, or to rally votes.
"I do think that consistently beating the drum and saying that the elections are rigged, actually, is self-defeating. Because if voters hear that, and they think, well, they're rigged, that actually creates a disincentive for them to turn out," he said.
Schuerer said elected officials should commit to serving the public need to gain votes.
"When you get elected, you're not elected as a republican or democrat. You're elected to represent all the people in that district, and that's what we've gotten away from," he said.
Dunn says the key voters to rally are in the suburbs, especially in the Denver metro area. He said democrats reached that demographic this time around.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.