Tick-tock: HD 55 Race Counts Down to Finish Line

If you were to look at only the contribution reports on the Secretary of State website, you would suspect that Republican Bob Caskey’s campaign in House District 55 against incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher, would be nothing more than just a handshake.As of mid-October, Caskey had raised only about $28,000 with over $10,000 of that Caskey’s own money compared to Buescher at nearly $150,000. The election prediction in Grand Junction and Mesa County would appear to be in Buescher’s favor.

If you were to study only the registration numbers, with Republicans at 21,337, Democrats at 11,022 and unaffiliated/miscellaneous at 15,844, you would wonder how Buescher ever won in 2004. Add an influx of 527 advertising dollars in 2006 used to attack Buescher’s record, the pendulum may have swung Republican instead.

But, with Buescher’s campaign using reverse psychology–the meaner the attack ads, the more positive Buescher’s response message–Buescher’s campaign has persevered. Buescher is very well known and liked; the 527 ads might have backfired. The pendulum swings left again in his favor.

With this back and forth, there is only one conclusion: the HD 55 race won’t be decided until it’s down to the wire 7 pm on Election Day.

“Bernie seems upbeat and is getting all of us candidates to make calls to absentee ballot requesters,” noted Dana Barker, the Democratic candidate in Senate District 7, which also includes the Mesa County area.

“Bernie is certainly taking nothing for granted and continues to work very hard,” Barker added. “Bernie has been very good about responding to attacks but the answer will be when the pen hits the paper or the finger hits the screen,” Barker said.

With less than two weeks before the election, Buescher continues to put new ads on Grand Junction area TV screens and newspapers. The 527’s and PACs supporting Caskey have to overcome the negative press churned up by “Beauprez-Gate” and the death toll from Iraq.

“From the outside, it may appear to be a closer race than it really is,” declared a Buescher campaign worker. “I predict the outcome will be that Bernie wins by at least 10 points,” the volunteer continued, “but we won’t stop campaigning for Bernie until the polls close.”