Opinion | Tony Jones: A moderate’s guide to the November elections

Tony Jones

The midterm elections are quickly approaching. Nov. 8 will be here before you know it and political ads are popping up everywhere on television and the internet. In Colorado, moderate and unaffiliated voters made their voices heard in the primaries by voting down extreme candidates and voting for more moderate candidates. It’s these same moderate and unaffiliated voters who have set the stage for this year’s midterm elections and are drawing a clear line of correlation between their political views and those of moderate candidates. Because of this, moderate voters of all political persuasions have real options in the midterms. Here’s a breakdown of a few of those choices as I, a moderate and unaffiliated voter, see them. 

Moderates believe in choice, and fortunately when it comes to abortion, both candidates for Senate, Michael Bennet and Joe O’Dea, support choice. With states across the nation enacting restrictions or bans on abortion, moderates need to ensure that our state remains a refuge for women who need this service. Fortunately, one can vote either Democratic or Republican for Senator and be supportive of a woman’s right to choose. 

Coloradans have already signaled that they want to keep abortion legal in our state, as shown by the failure of the abortion ban bill to gather the signatures necessary to get the measure on the ballot in November. Some Republican and unaffiliated Colorado voters may have considered this issue when they promoted Joe O’Dea to the general election. O’Dea has indicated that he is not of the mind that abortion should be banned at the national level, and while I’d love to believe that, I’m skeptical of what he’ll do when gets to Washington and is pressured by GOP colleagues to toe the party line. Consider Cory Gardner, who began his tenure in the Senate as a center-right candidate of independent thought but ended it riding President Trump’s coattails. As such, I believe the safer vote is to maintain Bennet in office.

One of the more critical races in Colorado is for Secretary of State, and fortunately, thanks to moderate and unaffiliated voters, there is a real choice to be made in the midterms. Colorado voters have already made it known that they’re not OK with election conspiracy theories by showing Tina Peters, one of the most outspoken proponents of such ridiculousness, the door. 

Moderates understand that elections are the foundation of our democracy and that the misinformation that some Republicans have spread around elections at both the local and national level are a threat to our country’s stability. Fortunately, the Democratic and Republican candidates for Secretary of State, Jena Griswold and Pam Anderson, are both supportive of Colorado’s election apparatus and both have experience in running free and fair elections. As such, moderate voters can make a choice without fear of endangering our elections and I like Pam Anderson for office, given her extensive experience with managing elections. While I mostly respect the job that Jena Griswold has done during her tenure, she has made some questionable moves that smack of partisanship. Additionally, I’d like to see us better balance our state government with both moderate Republicans and Democrats.

Finally, when it comes to the top office in the state, I find there is less of a real choice. I respect the work that Gov. Jared Polis has done as governor of our state, particularly during the early days of COVID-19 when his communications were timely and comforting. However, given that both the Colorado Senate and House were Democratic, I felt he should have played more of a moderating role in setting the legislative agenda, as John Hickenlooper did during his tenure. Nevertheless, Heidi Ganahl, the Republican nominee for governor, has already lost my vote by calling for the elimination of the state income tax without any plan on how she’d replace that lost revenue. While eliminating the state income tax may have sound bite appeal to some, the lack of a plan makes it nothing more than a talking point to attract easily swayed voters. You know, like the ones who think our elections are rigged despite the lack of any evidence.

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