TIME 2014 Election

The Surprising Struggles of Mark Udall to Win Colorado Women

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) speaks to supporters as he kicks off his 'Mark Your Ballot' bus tour on Oct. 15, 2014 in Denver.
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) speaks to supporters as he kicks off his 'Mark Your Ballot' bus tour on Oct. 15, 2014 in Denver. Doug Pensinger—Getty Images

He is not the only Democrat in trouble with the one demographic Democrats bet would save them the midterms

If you live in Colorado, you might be forgiven for thinking the 2014 midterm elections are about one thing: abortion. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday released a new television ad hitting GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, who is challenging Sen. Mark Udall for his Colorado seat, for not “being honest with women.”

“Cory Gardner is trying to hide that he is sponsoring a new law to make all abortions illegal, even for victims of rape or incest,” says the DSCC release. The ad features OB-GYN Dr. Eliza Buyers, who slams Gardner: “Cory Gardner is wrong to make abortion illegal and just as wrong not to tell the truth about it.”

Udall himself has two other ads up targeting female voters. In one, another Colorado OB-GYN talks about Gardner’s “long record of fighting to roll back women’s access to health care.” And a second ad calls out Gardner “for personhood lies.” About half the ads he has run again Gardner have highlighted what Democrats call Gardner’s extreme stances on women’s reproductive rights.

The problem is Gardner refuses to play along. In March, he retracted his support for a measure on so-called personhood, or the belief that life begins at the moment of conception, and has since backed making contraception—though not all forms of it—available over the counter.

Now, with a week to go before the election, Udall is down 2.8 percentage points in polls, according to an average of Colorado polls by Real Clear Politics. More troublingly he’s down amongst female voters in at least two polls. If Udall loses women, he’s lost his seat.

Udall’s narrow focus helped cost him the support of the Denver Post, the state’s largest paper. “Rather than run on his record, Udall’s campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman’s call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives,” the Post said in its endorsement of Gardner. “Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.”

And Udall isn’t the only Democrat struggling to turn the focus on women into a winning strategy. In Kentucky, Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes is even with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell with women, as is Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat fending off a strong GOP challenge from Rep. Tom Cotton in Arkansas. Like Udall, both Grimes and Pryor have invested heavily in turning out the women’s vote.

The “War on Women” is a playbook Democrats ran successfully in 2012, with significant assists from GOP senatorial candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock whose inopportune remarks on women and rape helped paint the party as out-of-touch on female issues. Unfortunately for Democrats, there have been no Akin and Murdoch repeats and candidates like Gardner have been much savvier in their messaging on women’s issues.

“A myopic focus on reproductive freedom and the ‘War on the Women’ does not seem to be an effective way to mobilize and motivate women in a year when the economy and jobs are at the forefront of voters’ minds, and GOP candidates have not made the same kinds of mistakes that Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock did in 2012,” says Jennifer Lawless, director of American University’s Women & Politics Institute. “In other words, courting the women’s vote is a smart move; the way several Democrats have gone about doing it has been not so smart.”

To be fair, the strategy is clearly working in other states like North Carolina, Georgia and New Hampshire where Democrats hold double-digit leads with women. And Colorado is notoriously difficult to poll. A Democratic poll released Monday showed Udall up by 9 points amongst female voters. Matt Canter, a spokesman for the DSCC, says that Colorado’s move to an all-mail voting system this cycle favors Democrats. Canter also noted that in the early voting returns thus far many female voters who did not vote in 2010 but did in 2012 are already turning out for Udall. “Public polls in Colorado were wrong in 2012 on Mitt Romney and they were wrong in 2010 on failed GOP Senate contender] Ken Buck,” says Canter. “We believe we maintain a strong advantage with women and that advantage is important for all these races.”

Certainly, Democrat Michael Bennet’s race against Buck is the template for Udall’s tough reelection. “In 2010 Michael Bennet was able to survive a midterm election in which Democrats lost their House majority in what Obama called a shellacking losing a record 63 seats and they barely hung onto Senate control because of his strength with women voters,” says Michele Swers, an associate professor at Georgetown University who specializes in women in U.S. politics. “Udall is trying to replicate that.”

The problem is, unless Udall’s polls are to be believed, “the gender gap in this race isn’t as great as it has been in past Senate races, notably 2008 and 2010,” says Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

Arguably, the focus on turning out the women’s vote has kept 2014 from being a wave year: the only seats in play are in purple or red states, not blue ones. Progressive Sen. Al Franken, for example, is sailing through to reelection in Minnesota.

But unmarried women, the demographic Udall is targeting, are notoriously bad drop off voters in non-presidential years and clearly they seem to be motivated in some states more so than others. Udall has bet his race on turning them out. If they fail to materialize, Democrats will have to ask themselves: Was winning women the right strategy for all of their races? And when does it work and when doesn’t it and why?

 

TIME Drugs

Go Inside the Harvest of Colorado’s Most Controversial Marijuana Strain

Take a look at how Charlotte's Web transforms from plant to medicine.

The Stanley brothers of Colorado grow a strain of cannabis called Charlotte’s Web on a farm near Wray, Colo. An oil made from the plant is being used to treat children with epilepsy in Colorado and California and is in high demand throughout the country. Until this year, the Stanleys cultivated and sold Charlotte’s Web as medical marijuana. But because the plant meets the legal definition of hemp, containing less than 0.3 percent THC, the Stanleys are hoping they will be legally allowed to ship Charlotte’s Web oil across state lines.

TIME Culture

Pot Is the New Normal

Demand for marijuana edibles is pushing several Colorado manufacturers to expand their facilities or move to larger quarters.
Steve Herin, Master Grower at Incredibles, works on repotting marijuana plants in the grow facility on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Kent Nishimura—Denver Post via Getty Images

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv.

Face it: marijuana is legal, crime is down, traffic fatalities are declining and fewer teens are lighting up

If you want to know just how crazy marijuana makes some people, look no further than the race for governor of Colorado, where Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper is neck and neck with Republican challenger Bob Beauprez. They’re high-profile examples of a growing backlash against pot, even as none of the scare stories about legal weed are coming true. Drug-addled addicts embarking on crime sprees? Not in Denver. Stupefied teens flunking tests in record numbers? Uh-uh. Highway fatalities soaring? Nope.

About the worst you can say so far is that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wigged out while high. But she does that from time to time when she’s sober as a judge too.

Neither Hickenlooper nor Beauprez has cracked 50% with voters, which makes sense since neither candidate can stomach the fact that 55% of Coloradans voted to legalize recreational pot in 2012. “I’ll say it was reckless” to legalize pot, averred Hickenlooper at a recent debate. Beauprez goes further still. When asked if it’s time to recriminalize marijuana, he said, “Yes, I think we’re at that point … where the consequences that we’ve already discovered from this may be far greater than the liberty … citizens thought they were embracing.”

In fact, sales and tax revenues from legal pot continue to climb, and more people now buy recreational pot than medical marijuana, even though the former is taxed at much higher rates. Pot has kicked about $45 million into tax coffers since it became legal this year and is projected to come in between $60 million and $70 million by year’s end. Murders in the Denver area, where most pot sales take place, are down 42% (so is violent crime overall, though at a lower rate) and property crime is down 11.5%.

There’s more bad news for alarmists: Pot use by teenagers in Colorado declined from 2001, when the state legalized medical marijuana, to 2013, the last full year for which data are available. When medical marijuana was introduced, critics worried that any form of legalized pot would increase usage among kids, but the reverse happened. It remains to be seen if that trend continues in the face of legal recreational pot, but Colorado teens already use dope at lower rates than the national average. So much for the Rocky Mountain High state.

Yet Colorado pols are in good company in harshing on legal weed. The recovering addict and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy heads Safe Alternatives to Marijuana (SAM) and categorically argues, “we cannot promote a comprehensive system of mental-health treatment and marijuana legalization.”

Researchers who find that regular marijuana use among teenagers correlates with mental problems, academic failure and other bad outcomes get plenty of ink, even though such studies fail to show causation. Underperforming students and kids with problems abuse alcohol and smoke cigarettes at higher rates, after all. In any case, even advocates of legalization argue that teens shouldn’t be smoking pot any more than they should be drinking. Given the drug’s pariah status for decades, it’s not surprising that the science is both unsettled and highly politicized.

Will legalizing pot increase access to a drug that law-enforcement officials concede has long been readily available to high schoolers? “Criminalizing cannabis for adults has little if any impact on reducing teens’ access or consumption of the plant,” argues the pro-legalization group NORML, a claim supported by declining teen use during Colorado’s experience with medical marijuana. Certainly pot merchants who are registered with and regulated by the state are more likely to check IDs than your friendly neighborhood black-market dealer.

At least this much seems certain: In a world where adults can openly buy real pot, you’re also less likely to read stories headlined “More People Hospitalized by Bad Batch of Synthetic Marijuana.” And support for legalization isn’t fading. The market-research firm Civic Science finds that 58% of Americans support laws that “would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol.”

That figure obviously doesn’t include either candidate for governor of Colorado. But just like the rest of the country, whoever wins that race will have to learn to live with pot being legal, crime being down, traffic fatalities declining and fewer teens lighting up.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Education

Colorado Protesters Promise to Keep Fighting ‘Pro-Patriotism’ Curriculum Changes

Student Protest US History
Teachers, students and supporters march near the location of an ongoing Jefferson County School Board meeting, in Golden, Colo., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Brennan Linsley—AP

The board’s conservative majority is likely to review AP History curriculum to ensure it promotes patriotism

Student and parent protestors promised a new round of demonstrations Friday after the conservative majority on a school board in Denver, Colorado suburbs moved forward with an effort to review its U.S. history class curriculum to include more “patriotic” content.

The board voted 3-2 to add new members, including students, parents and administrators to two curriculum review committees, which, Board President Ken Witt said, is expected to review the Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum. The move comes after board member Julie Williams proposed that the AP U.S. history curriculum be looked over to ensure it promotes patriotism, the Associated Press reports. Protestors accuse the board’s conservative majority of using its position to further conservative political aims.

The College Board, which oversees Advanced Placement classes and testing, introduced a new approach to U.S. history this year that favors examining primary source documents and places greater emphasis on women, minorities and native peoples. Some conservatives and other detractors say the new curriculum is at its core anti-American.

Similar fights have broken out across the country in recent years, particularly with regard to state education standards known as the Common Core, which some conservatives say amounts to government meddling in local affairs.

[AP]

MONEY best places to live

The 5 Best Places To Find a Spouse With a Job

141003_BPL_SpouseWithJob
A bride and groom on a beach at the water's edge in Kirkland, Washington. Kirkland is a top place for both men and women to find a spouse. Design Pics Inc.—Alamy

Looking for that special someone? Hoping he or she will be gainfully employed? Here's where to start your search.

There are lots of things to consider when choosing a place to live. How’s the job market? How much do people make? How affordable is it? And for those looking for love, the real question is: “Where are all the nice, single guys/girls?” And on that count, Pew Research might be able to help.

On Thursday, the data firm released a list of the country’s major metro areas with the highest ratio of employed, young (25-34) single men to young women, and vice versa. Pew included employment status based on the results of a recent poll, which found that 78% of never-married women think having a spouse with a steady job is “very important” (only 46% of never-married men agreed). The interactive map, available here, is a nationwide guide to the places where you have the best odds of finding an eligible bachelor or bachelorette.

But while we now know where the singles are, Pew doesn’t give us any clues about whether we’d actually want to live in any of these locations. That’s where MONEY’s Best Places data comes in. We’ve cross referenced our list of America’s best small cities with the new report, looking for cities that fall within Pew’s top major metro areas for finding love. Or at least a good shot at getting hitched.

The Top Five Cities For Those Interested in Men:

Castle Rock, Colo.

Best Small Cities rank: 4

Pew Metro Area rank: 2

# of employed single young men for every 100 single young women: 101

Maple Grove, Minn.

Best Small Cities rank: 2

Pew Metro Area rank: 4

# of employed single young men for every 100 single young women: 98

Eagan, Minn.

Best Small Cities rank: 2

Pew Metro Area rank: 4

# of employed single young men for every 100 single young women: 98

Kirkland, Wash.

Best Small Cities rank: 5

Pew Metro Area rank: 5

# of employed single young men for every 100 single young women: 92

Reston, Va.

Best Small Cities rank: 10

Pew Metro Area rank: 7

# of employed single young men for every 100 single young women: 92

 

The Top 5 Cities For Those Interested in Women:

Kirkland, Wash.

Best Small Cities rank: 5

Pew Metro Area rank: 1

# of employed single young women for every 100 single young men: 78

Reston, Va.

Best Small Cities rank: 10

Pew Metro Area rank: 1

# of employed single young women for every 100 single young men: 78

Newton, Mass.

Best Small Cities rank: 15

Pew Metro Area rank: 6

# of employed single young women for every 100 single young men: 74

Brookline, Mass.

Best Small Cities rank: 21

Pew Metro Area rank: 6

# of employed single young women for every 100 single young men: 74

Columbia/Ellicott City, Md.

Best Small Cities rank: 6

Pew Metro Area rank: 7

# of employed single young women for every 100 single young men: 74

 

More Best Places:

 

TIME Education

History Curriculum Promoting ‘Respect for Authority’ Prompts Student Anger in Denver

Ella Gonzales and Jordan Miller, high school students, take part in a walkout protest outside Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colo., Sept. 23, 2014.
Ella Gonzales and Jordan Miller, high school students, take part in a walkout protest outside Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colo., Sept. 23, 2014. Matthew Staver—The New York Times/Redux

A school board's bid to do away with history materials condoning "civil disorder" has created, well, civil disorder

Hundreds of high school students in suburban Denver walked out of their classes on Wednesday morning, expressing disgust at a local proposal to ax U.S. history texts that fail to promote “respect for authority” alongside respect for individual rights.

The 700-strong protest spanned six area schools and was the largest yet in a series of walkouts this week in Jefferson County, Colorado’s second largest school district, over curriculum revisions proposed by a recently elected conservative school board, the Denver Post reports.

The new school board wants to establish a committee that would review all texts used in the district’s history curriculum to make sure they promote “positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”

“Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights,” reads the proposal.

Meanwhile, material condoning “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law” should be jettisoned, it says.

On Twitter, commentators used the hashtag #JeffcoSchoolBoardHistory to mock the proposal, offering tongue-in-cheek tweaks to common historical narratives.

“During WWII Japanese Americans were given free housing by the government,” tweeted one user.

“Roe vs Wade was about the best way to cross a river,” tweeted another.

The school board has not yet scheduled a vote on the proposal, the Associated Press says.

TIME Drugs

Pro-Pot Group Giving Free Weed to Colorado Vets

A worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. on Feb. 7, 2014.
A worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. on Feb. 7, 2014. Brennan Linsley—AP

The organization Grow4Vets is giving free marijuana to veterans Saturday

Marijuana-smoking veterans may find themselves flocking to Denver, Colorado Saturday, when a pro-pot organization will host a weed giveaway to get grass in the hands of military veterans who seek it.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Quality Inn in Central Denver, the group Grow4Vets will give out cannabis products worth more than $200 to veterans who RSVP for the event by noon Friday. Others will be asked for a $20 donation at the door and get more than $100 in pot products in exchange, organizers told ABC7 News Denver.

Grow4Vets exists to “reduce the staggering number of Veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose” by providing vets “with the knowledge and resources necessary to obtain or grow their own marijuana for treatment of their medical conditions,” the group’s website says.

A repeat of the event will be held September 27 in Colorado Springs.

TIME Disease

Hundreds of Children Stricken by Rare Respiratory Illness in Colorado

The illness appears to almost uniquely target children

Just as schools usher in a new group of students, plus all of their germs, hundreds of children in Denver have come down with an unusual and severe respiratory illness that has ailed communities across the U.S. in recent weeks.

Officials at Children’s Hospital Colorado told the Denver Post that the hospital has treated more than 900 children for the illness since Aug. 18. Similar outbreaks have been reported in geographic clusters around the Midwest this summer, including in St. Louis.

Health officials believe that the sickness is related to a rare virus called human enterovirus 68 (HEV68), the Post says. HEV68, first seen in California in 1962, and an unwelcome but highly infrequent visitor to communities worldwide since then, is a relative of the virus linked to the common cold (human rhinoviruses, or HRV), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HEV68, which almost uniquely affects children, tends to first cause cold-like symptoms, including body aches, sneezing and coughing. These mild complaints then worsen into life-threatening breathing problems that are all the more dangerous to children with asthma. Since viruses do not respond to antibiotics, hospitals have treated the illness with asthma therapies.

Although extremely unpleasant, no deaths have so far been reported from this summer’s outbreak.

There is no vaccine for HEV68, and health officials are encouraging the same practices that guard against the common cold: keep your hands to yourself, and wash them often.

TIME Drugs

Finally, Some Hard Science on Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy Patients

Matt Figi, Charlotte Figi
Matt Figi hugs his 7-year-old daughter Charlotte inside a Colorado greenhouse. The plants are a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named for Charlotte after she used the plant to treat epileptic seizures Brennan Linsley—AP

A groundbreaking clinical trial may provide some answers to medical marijuana as a seizure treatment

Correction appended, Sept. 5, 2014

For years, some parents have turned to medical marijuana to treat their children’s debilitating epilepsy, crediting the drug with dramatically reducing seizure activity. A groundbreaking clinical trial about to begin recruiting test subjects may finally provide some science to back their claims.

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus will study the genes of those with a kind of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome who have been treated with a strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web. The study will attempt to determine if specific genetic components can explain why some epilepsy patients see positive results from ingesting Charlotte’s Web, while others do not.

The plant, grown by five brothers in Colorado through a non-profit organization called Realm of Caring, is low in THC, the compound that produces marijuana’s psychoactive effects, and high in CBD, a compound believed to reduce seizures in those suffering from certain forms of epilepsy. It is administered to epilepsy patients, including many children, in the form of an oil. The plant is named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl who was the first epilepsy patient successfully treated with the strain.

While anecdotal evidence suggests Charlotte’s Web can be highly effective in treating such conditions, scientific investigation of the product has been stymied by federal drug laws that severely limit marijuana research. Edward Maa, the principal investigator of the Charlotte’s Web study, says the new trial could be a first step toward building a body of research on how and why medical marijuana can be used to treat epilepsy. “This is the first attempt to get the information people are interested in that is observational in nature,” says Maa, an assistant professor at the CU School of Medicine and chief of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Programs at Denver Health.

The new study will recruit epilepsy patients who have already taken Charlotte’s Web. The patients will be divided into two groups—those who have seen seizure activity reduced by at least 50 percent on Charlotte’s Web and those who have had less dramatic or no results from taking the marijuana oil. Genetic analysis of the patients in both groups will then be performed in hopes of discovering what genetic components may cause a patient to be responsive to medical marijuana. Interventional studies, in which patients would be given Charlotte’s Web to measure its efficacy, are far more difficult to conduct. “That would be the Holy Grail,” says Maa.

Still, researchers on the CU Anschutz team will collect data on dosages used by patients in the study, for example, which could allow for further research down the line. “The more data we are able to collect in a large sample, the closer to the truth we will get,” says Maa. He says the study could allow children with Dravet Syndrome to be genetically screened before taking Charlotte’s Web so parents could know ahead of time if their children would benefit. It’s possible to conduct the study in Colorado because Charlotte’s Web is grown there legally and is home to many families who have moved to the state to specifically to access the marijuana strain.

“Do you uproot and move your entire family to not have an effect? I think this could be very helpful to answer this question,” says Maa.

Recruiting for the new study will begin within a month and data will be collected until February 2016.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the location where a study on medical marijuana will take place. It is the University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Campus.

TIME Drugs

Colorado Hits a New High for Pot Sales

Pot Prices Double as Colorado Retailers Roll Out Green Carpet
An employee pulls marijuana out of a large canister for a customer at the LoDo Wellness Center in downtown Denver, Jan. 9, 2014. Matthew Staver—Bloomberg/Getty Images

More than $114 million worth of the drug has been sold since January

Colorado marijuana dispensaries sold an estimated $24.7 million of recreational marijuana in June, according to tax figures released Friday by state Department of Revenue.

The figure makes June the most successful month for dispensaries on record since January, when marijuana became legal for recreational use in the state. Marijuana sales in the state have been surprisingly strong. A recent study of the market found that more than 10 tons are being sold every month, and the average price for consumers was for $220 per ounce.

In total, more than $114 million worth of the drug has been sold since January, based on Colorado tax figures.

Not everyone is joining in. President Barack Obama visited the state recently, but, when asked, passed on the opportunity to take a hit.

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