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Research Report
September 12, 2003

Presidential Election and the West

Analysis by Floyd Ciruli

Although Colorado partisans will have no impact on the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, there are several western states that could make a difference. Colorado’s April 13 caucus is too late to impact the Democrat action, which will likely be settled March 2 when California and a host of other big states such as New York, Ohio and Texas hold primaries.

Western states that could be a battleground for the Democratic nomination due to the early timing of their events are Arizona, (Feb. 3 primary), New Mexico (Feb. 3 caucus), Washington (Feb. 7 caucus), Nevada (Feb. 14 caucus), Idaho (Feb. 24 caucus) and Utah (Feb. 27 primary).

2004 Election in the West
Presidential Nomination, Senate and Governor Elections
. Presidential Nominations
Date System 2000
Pres. winner
Senate Governor
Arizona Feb 3 Primary Bush 6% McCain (R) --
California March 2 Primary Gore 12% Boxer (D) 38%
Colorado April 13 Caucus Bush 8% Campbell (R) --
Idaho Feb 24 Caucus Bush 40% Crapo (R) --
Montana June 8 Primary Bush 25% -- Martz (R)
Nevada Feb 14 Caucus Bush 4% Reid (D) --
New Mexico Feb 3 Caucus Gore 0.1% -- --
Oregon May 18 Primary Gore 0.5% Wyden (D) --
Utah Feb 27 Primary Bush 41% Bennett (R) Leavitt (R)
Washington Feb 7 Caucus Gore 6% Murray (D) Locke (D)
Wyoming March 20 Caucus Bush 40% -- --
Source: Ciruli Associates, 2003

Parts of the interior west could also be targets for the fall 2004 campaigns. Assuming the national race will be close, if not quite as razor thin as 2000, states that could be close and hence targeted by the national campaigns are Arizona (Bush by 6% in 2000) and Nevada (Bush by 4%). Also, Gore barely won New Mexico (0.1%), Oregon (0.5%) and won close in Washington (6%).

Senate Election
There will be several important incumbent senators up for re-election. Most of the Republicans appear safe, including Arizona’s John McCain and Colorado’s Ben Nighthorse Campbell. But there are several Democrats that could face tough fights if Republicans can recruit strong candidates:
Barbara Boxer (CA), Harry Reid (NV), Ron Wyden (OR) and Patty Murray (WA). As in the 2003 election, Republican recruiting will be critical.

Ciruli Associates • 1490 Lafayette St., Suite 208• Denver, CO 80218 • PH (303) 399-3173 • FAX (303) 399-3147.

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