State Democratic chair speaks in Grand County |

State Democratic chair speaks in Grand County

Hank Shell /
Staff Photo |

Last year was a tough one for Colorado Democrats, but things are only looking up.

That was the gist of Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio’s address to local democrats on March 10.

Palacio, recently elected to his third term as state chairman, attended the Grand County Democrats’ monthly meeting at the Inn at SilverCreek.

“This is the business that we’re in,” Palacio said. “In politics, we work hard and sometimes we win some and sometimes we work our butts off and unfortunately the wind is in our face.”

Still mourning the defeat of Sen. Mark Udall to Rep. Corey Gardner, Palacio said it was up to Democrats to hold the freshman Republican senator accountable.

Some local party members voiced their discontent with Udall’s campaign, which focused heavily on women, leaving other issues to the wayside.

Despite Udall’s loss, Palacio pointed to increased Democratic turnout across Colorado in 2014 as evidence of an electorate shifting in the party’s favor.

“Six years from now is going to a very different time in our state than 2014,” Palacio said. “Six years from now, (Gardner) is going to be running for re-election. It’s strange for me to be talking about 2020, but its right around the corner.”

Colorado Democrats expect a strong turnout in 2020, a presidential election year.

The party is also focusing on the state legislature, Palacio said, hoping to make big gains in 2016.

“We have amazing Democrats in charge of the Statehouse,” he said. “We lost the state Senate by one seat, but we took back the two seats that we lost in the recalls, and we’re well poised to take the Senate back in 2016.”

That’s important, Palacio said, because of the state’s rapidly growing population.

The 2020 census could result in another congressional seat.

“If we have Congressional District 8, Democrats need to be in charge of drawing those maps that tell us exactly where are borderlines are so that we have a great shot of winning as many Democratic seats as we can,” Palacio said.

Though Palacio spoke at great length about the state party’s long-term goals over the next six years, he also emphasized the important of recruiting candidates at the local level for 2016.

Democrats in Grand County have had trouble putting up candidates to face Republican incumbents in local races.

Seven local races lacked Democratic contenders in 2014, with Republicans running unopposed in six of them.

Grand County Democratic Party Chair Sandy Doudna said the local party was looking for a certain kind of challenger.

“We need more young people, and by young people I mean anybody under 60,” Doudna said. “We need people who are interested in serving, truly serving.”

For more information about the Grand County Democrats, visit

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