With Ohio looking difficult and Iowa and Nevada looking encouraging for Barack Obama, Colorado suddenly looms large in Obama’s electoral calculus. Obama needs to hold the states that John Kerry won and add 18 additional electoral votes. The combination of Nevada (5 EV), Iowa(7), and Colorado(9) does the trick with three to spare, which is unfortunately *not* enough to cover the four votes held by recalcitrant and unreliably blue New Hampshire. But that’s another story.
With the possible exception of Virginia(13 EV), in no state does this election have the potential to be more transformative. I’ve run across two excellent pieces on the shifts in the Colorado electorate this week. In Slate, Christopher Beam suggests that although Colorado is ever bluer, Obama may be too much of a “weenie” to carry the day in a state which, although is the most urbanized in the nation, still likes its guns.
In a more thoughtful New Yorker article, Ryan Lizza draws convincing parallels between Obama and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who won by a stunning 17-point margin in 2006.