The way columnist Ellen Miller saw one '96 race in Colorado


Note: This article is a sidebar to one of this issue's feature stories.

"None of the big-city analysts have tumbled yet to what beat Tom Strickland, the Democrat who ran against Wayne Allard for the Senate in Colorado. What happened was that Strickland, a close but not identical politician in the Tim Wirth mode, lost 17 of 20 western Colorado counties. Some of those Wirth carried easily and Strickland should have, too. But his campaign gunslingers relied on quick polls and focus groups and reached the erroneous conclusion that right-thinking Westerners approved of Clinton's unabashed land grab in southern Utah.

"But that kind of federal intervention, while well-grounded in the law as well as in practice, doesn't sell well out here. And the voters knew it. Strickland is a dynamic, thoughtful and well-intentioned guy, but he let his handlers call a big one for him and it blew up in his face. He lost votes he badly needed - and were his to lose - on the Western Slope. It cost him the election."

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