Could countless hours of field work — canvassing door-to-door and making phone calls — be the key to winning a contested Senate seat that had been characterized by Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien as a “slam dunk” for Republicans?
Democratic candidate Linda Newell thinks so. The single mother and her volunteers claim to have knocked on more than 37,000 doors since July in the traditionally conservative Senate District 26 south of Denver as part of an elaborate field strategy to defeat Republican candidate Lauri Clapp.
Since starting the massive ground effort in the summer, a race that was supposed to favor Clapp has turned into a toss-up, with the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, a political organization that financially supports Democrats running for state Senate, classifying the district as a top-tier race.
Along with canvassing more than 100 precincts in the district, Newell supporters have also made a total of 12,700 phone calls. The campaign has been specifically targeting unaffiliated voters the city of Centennial, which is expected to be a deciding factor in the race.
It is currently unknown how much field work the Clapp camp has completed. Inquiries to the campaign have not been returned at this time.
But if Newell does win, it may end up being one of the biggest and underreported stories of Election Day in Colorado, where field work and community organizing — tactics that are often sidestepped by campaigns in favor of advertising spots and consulting fees — turned what was once an unwinnable seat over to a Democrat.
Also read The Colorado Independent’s continuing coverage of the SD 26 race.