- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2014

DENVER — Those counting on the Colorado Democratic Party’s vaunted ground game to push their candidates to victory may be getting a little nervous.

Figures released Friday by the Colorado secretary of state show that registered Republicans have turned in considerably more ballots than Democrats or unaffiliated voters with just four days before voting ends at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The latest numbers show Republicans have turned in 41.4 percent of the 1.15 million ballots received, followed by Democrats with 32.3 percent and unaffiliated voters with 25.3 percent. The remainder were submitted by voters registered with third parties.

“Things are getting scary for Democrats,” said a post on the conservative website Colorado Peak Politics alongside a photo of Janet Leigh in the shower scene from the movie “Psycho.”

The turnout numbers are being closely watched this year given the tight margins in the gubernatorial and Senate races. In the governor’s race, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez are going down to the wire with most polls showing the race within the margin of error.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gardner has led Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in nine of the last 10 polls, but not by enormous margins. The Real Clear Politics website shows Mr. Gardner ahead by an average of 3.6 points in the latest surveys.

An encouraging sign for Republicans is that most of those polls were based on much more even turnout among Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters than is reflected by the current ballot count. For example, a Denver Post/Survey USA poll released Thursday was based on a sampling of 35 percent Republicans, 32 percent Democrats and 33 percent independents.

That represents significantly fewer Republicans and more independents than have voted so far. The poll’s results showed Mr. Gardner ahead of Mr. Udall by 46 to 44 percent, while the gubernatorial candidates were tied at 46 percent each.

As for Democrats, they have history on their side: No Republican has won a Senate or gubernatorial race in Colorado since 2002, and no incumbent governor has lost a re-election bid in more than 50 years. Democratic voters also tend to cast their ballots later than Republicans, especially in races without a presidential contest.

This year also represents the first Senate or gubernatorial election under Colorado’s new Democrat-sponsored elections law, which ushered in all-mail balloting and same-day voter registration.

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