Standing alone before a lectern in a downtown Denver hotel ballroom Tuesday night, Gov. John Hickenlooper did what’s been rare in his decade-long political career: offer a concession speech.
“At a certain point you take risk, but then you look at the reward,” said Hickenlooper, a Democrat, as election night ballots revealed a stark statewide rebuke of the $1 billion income tax increase for education that the governor staunchly supported. “And the opportunity to define Colorado as the national model for public education … that reward more than justified the risk of going out there with again — in a difficult year — a tax increase.”
For Hickenlooper, who is vying for a second term in next year’s election, taking political risks has encompassed much of 2013, say some political observers.
Tuesday’s defeat caps off a year in which the governor has been assailed by critics across the aisle as grossly out of touch with the state’s moderate electorate. He backed a package of gun-control bills, supported a measure that doubles renewable-energy standards for rural Coloradans and supported a sweeping elections-reform measure.