The race to sound like Republicans is on for Colorado Democrats

Here’s Andrew Romanoff’s first ad. I’ll give him audacity, standing in a beautiful Western landscape dotted with doomsday infographics where bison should be with a D next to his name and claiming to be for balanced federal budgets. Rich. Romanoff is running against Rep. Mike Coffman, one of national Democrats’ top targets. Romanoff was on the national scene most recently in 2010 when he lost the Democratic primary for Senate to Michael Bennett.

The Denver Post:

It’s an ad that Romanoff hopes will cast him as financially responsible in a district where he needs to win over plenty of moderates.

But the ad drew howls from Republicans who questioned Romanoff’s sincerity and picked apart his state legislative record.

“Let’s hope Speaker Romanoff is booking this advertisement on Comedy Central, because the idea Romanoff is a fiscal conservative is comedic,” said a statement from Coffman’s campaign manager, Tyler Sandberg. “As the Democratic leader of the State House, Romanoff led the crusade against fiscal restraint. He crammed down over a billion dollars in new taxes and fees on senior homeowners and small businesses and championed numerous outlandish taxing and borrowing schemes rejected by Colorado voters.”

In other adventures in emergency moderation, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Mark Udall, and Romanoff, as reported in Politico, have all three come out against environmental activists’ anti-fracking measures, which are supposed to be on the ballot this fall. First, Hickenlooper scrambled to subvert the effort with some kind of compromise legislation but failed. Today, he and the very liberal Rep. Jared Polis, who had formerly backed the measures, got together to decide that Polis would pull his support, allowing his deeply held values take one for the team.

That agreement among Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Jared Polis, environmental groups and the oil and gas industry creates an 18-member task force that will study fracking in Colorado and present recommendations to the state legislature. In exchange, they’ve asked that organizers pull two pro-fracking and two anti-fracking measures and that a lawsuit against the city of Longmont be dismissed.

“We have an obligation to develop (energy) in a way that is safe for our residents, supports jobs and the economy, respects private property rights and protects our health and environment,” Hickenlooper said.

The task force will be charged to find solutions that minimize land-use conflicts near homes, schools, businesses and recreational areas. The state is seeking a balanced approach, he said, one that will represent diverse concerns from oil and gas, agriculture, environmental and health groups and local governments.

It was not immediately clear that the compromise necessarily means all four ballot initiatives will be removed. It seems activists would have the ability and option to go forward if they wished to, but it’s at least nice to see these uncomfortable fissures in the other party get some coverage for a change.

Probably best to have a little distance from these activists lest they bring the tactics of their European brethren to the States.

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