By Floyd Ciruli
Like the truncated administration of Bill Ritter, Gov. Elect-John Hickenlooper faces similar challenges moving into state government.
• He has only secondhand knowledge of state government and the legislature. Selecting his legislative team and alliances with major lobbyists is key.
• Colorado governors have much less power than Denver mayors. Fortunately, Hickenlooper knows how to use the bully pulpit to push his agenda.
• The capital press corp is much more aggressive and longer serving than the frequently changing Denver City Hall reporters. Hickenlooper will need to develop a thick skin.
• Special interests in the capitol are represented by an army of lobbyists who also tend to run political campaigns and are often associated with their preferred parties and legislative blocs. How to say no and yet not make enemies is a talent hard to cultivate.
• Ritter was often blindsided by his nominal legislative allies serving some interest group or party purpose. Having lost the House, Hickenlooper likely avoids that problem, but House Republicans will be interested in building their majority and quickly testing if Hickenlooper might become the second one-term governor in Colorado’s recent history.
Floyd Ciruli founded Ciruli Associates, a research and consulting firm specializing in public policy, communication and strategic planning, in 1985. Mr. Ciruli is a pollster and political analyst for 9-KUSA TV, KOA Radio, The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post. In addition, he has appeared on NBC Nightly News, Lehrer News Hour, CNN, Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume, the BBC and National Public Radio.