Older voters may hold the key in 4th CD, says New York Times

In politics, it is not so much how you play the game, it is whether you win or lose.

The New York Times today says that in Colorado, especially in the 4th Congressional District race between Democrat incumbent Betsy Markey and Republican challenger Cory Gardner, it may come down to older voters.

It isn’t just that race, though, as the article notes that seniors may hold the trump cards in the senate race as well.

The Times points out that, while older voters will definitely vote, they are not volunteering in the trenches as much as they have in prior years.

While Northern Colorado used to be reliably Republican, today the demographics are much more complex, according to The Times:

The migration made Fort Collins, Larimer County’s largest city, one of the fastest-growing places in the nation in 2009. About 14,000 people came from another state, the Census Bureau reported — an injection totaling almost 5 percent of the county’s entire population.

Many retirees brought new political perspectives with them, shaped by contours far from the plains and mountains of the West, and have changed the complexion of this once solidly Republican county into something much less predictable.

Some say that a voter base that is neither quite Democrat nor Republican may be emerging, forged by give and take over Scrabble at the Fort Collins Senior Center or in the Newcomers Club.

In 2008, Mr. Obama became only the second Democratic presidential candidate to carry Colorado since 1964. But even in the midst of that Democratic surge, some local Republican candidates here in Larimer County, especially for the State Legislature, continued to do well.

“Once I got out here my politics started evolving,” said John Spurgin, 63, a retired corporate lawyer who voted Republican for years while living in Houston but found himself drawn to the Democrats after arriving here three years ago. He plans to vote mostly for Democrats, including for Congress and governor.

The latest polls show Gardner leading Markey, but not by much. Could it be, that once again voter turnout among the older set holds the key?

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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