Obviously, I like talking about Battleground States. I really enjoy anything about Battleground Counties. But this write up in the Denver Post about a Battleground neighborhood that has correctly called every president, U.S. senator or governor (with one exception) since 2000 is pretty darn impressive:
In this key swing state, in a key swing county, a small middle-class neighborhood in the heart of Lakewood’s Green Mountain subdivision has picked the winner in nearly every statewide and national election over the past 12 years. Precinct 7202330176 sits at the base of Jefferson County‘s William Frederick Hayden Park and reveals an electorate almost perfectly in sync with voters in Jefferson County and in Colorado.
[T]he mountainside precinct, just off West Alameda Parkway on Lakewood’s far western border, is quiet, family-oriented and likely to lean Democratic. But only for the right person. Nearly every political expert says Colorado is key to winning the White House this year. And most political experts in the state have long known that you can’t win Colorado without winning Jefferson County, making swing precincts such as this one in Green Mountain — with its 1,532 active voters — even more important.
“As goes Jeffco, so goes Colorado,” is a political adage that has held true for decades, said Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado GOP chairman and a Jeffco resident. Jefferson County has 269,160 active voters and is divided almost evenly among Republicans (37 percent), Democrats (31 percent) and unaffiliated voters (31 percent). Colorado figures to be a swing state because of its geopolitical divide, where Democratic voters in Boulder and Denver counties cancel out conservative voters in Douglas and El Paso counties. That leaves the deciding power in swing counties such as Jefferson, Arapahoe and Larimer.
The same patterns can be seen in Jefferson County, where cities such as Golden and Wheat Ridge lean Democratic while Arvada and Westminster trend Republican. That leaves the middle: Green Mountain and Precinct 7202330176 — a community of mostly 1970s-era homes surrounded by maturing trees, a ravine and winding streets. The precinct was redrawn last year and now includes Green Mountain High School. The precinct’s 1,532 active voters mirror Jeffco overall, with 505 Democrats (33 percent), 541 Republicans (35 percent) and 469 unaffiliated voters (31 percent). Only once since 2000 did the precinct fail to pick the winner in an election for president, U.S. senator or governor. Voters in 2002 chose Democrat Tom Strickland over victorious Republican Wayne Allard for the U.S. Senate. Census figures show the Green Mountain precinct of more than 4,000 people is nearly 88 percent white, has a median age of 39 and has most of its households earning more than $50,000 a year.
Since they decide the elections, what’s on their mind?
“They like basic government, don’t go too far one way or the other. They don’t want to see a lot of spending on tax dollars, but at the same time, they believe in the basic programs that you do need. They like good government but not excessive,” said former state Sen. Norma Anderson, a Lakewood Republican.
[W]hat are issues burning in people’s minds in Green Mountain? The usual: the economy, schools, health care, etc.
No matter where people stand, voters can expect a deluge in the coming months as the campaign season kicks into high gear: robocalls, pollsters, personalized mailings and knocks on the door.
This is where the battle will be fought in Colorado so get after it!