DENVER — When Donald Trump won the White House nearly two years ago, he did so without winning Colorado. But right now in 2018, state Republican leaders are already focused on a reversal in 2020.
"I think people are seeing the Republican party has been responsible in governance and we've done the things that really matter to people," said Colorado Republican party chair Jeff Hays.
For the moment Hays has a lot going in his favor for the future. The markets are strong; unemployment is low.
He feels people are better off thanks to deregulation and focus on veterans care.
“Free markets, freedom, federalism, small government, deregulation, those things have worked well to serve and make the United States the greatest country on the face of the earth," said Hays.
Running for office in Colorado is different than other parts of the country. About one-third of the voters here are Republican; another one-third are Democrats.
The remaining are independents, meaning the GOP will have to win its base and then some.
"I think it's going to be a referendum on Trump's first four years,” said Eric Walker, a spokesperson with Colorado Democratic Party.
Colorado Democrats already have their talking points ready, critical of health care cuts, and some of the Trump tax cuts they say favor the rich along with immigration policies they feel tears families apart.
"That's not the sort of thing that Colorado voters want, so I think that he's going to have a tough time in the state if he continues along that extreme right-wing agenda," said Walker.
The state GOP knows there are challenges - hoping grassroots campaigning will help solidify their base and skeptics.
"There are so many voices that are screaming to be heard, whether it’s on social media, standard media, people are just battling for your attention," said Hays.