Republican Test Runs on Reviving Crime as Political Issue in CA, CO

Colorado Republicans blasted Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in an ad for suspending a death sentence and allowing “a cold-blooded killer to escape justice.” As some conservative states like Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina turn away from mandatory prison sentences to thin inmate populations and save taxpayer money, the consensus faces a test in two political bellwether states where demographics have pushed Republicans into a political corner. the Associated Press reports.

In Colorado, the GOP hopes crime issues will help unseat Hickenlooper and win back control of the state legislature in 2014. California Republicans are targeting Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats over a state policy to send lower-level offenders to local jails rather than state prisons. Frank Zimring, a University of California-Berkeley law professor, said the GOP is trying a test run on a possible “resurgence in hard-right, punitive” crime politics. Republicans hold no state offices and under one-third of the legislature. In those circumstances, Zimring said, “you consult your greatest hits playbook from previous eras.”

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