Last week I ran down the major races in Colorado – again – and took a look at where I think we stood with two weeks to go. Now that we are just one week from Election Day, it’s time to do it again.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Gov. Bill Ritter.
The latest poll, from the Rocky Mountain News on Saturday, shows Ritter with a 19-point lead. Beauprez can’t close that gap, and the only mystery surrounding his candidacy now concerns how damaging he will be to other Republican candidates who won’t have any coattails to ride.
Both the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post published polls over the weekend showing this to be a fairly close race. I still don’t see how Republican John Suthers loses to Democrat Fern O’Brien, who has been the most invisible big race candidate of the entire election. If O’Brien didn’t share a last name with Ritter’s lieutenant governor running mate, Barbara O’Brien, she’d have no name recognition at all. Fern has no money and no television presence, and while this race may be close, Suthers will win.
Democrat Cary Kennedy is on television. Republican Mark Hillman is not. That matters — a lot. Kennedy should win in a close race.
Secretary of State
Republicans are probably kicking themselves that they didn’t support Mike Coffman for governor when he was briefly a candidate in early 2005 (Coffman stepped aside to make room for Beauprez). Coffman has been the best statewide Republican candidate, but he’s still in a tough battle with Democrat Ken Gordon. I say Coffman wins in a squeaker because he picks up more absentee voters.
The most competitive senate seat in the state, SD-21 (Lakewood) is leaning toward incumbent Betty Boyd. There’s no question that Democrats will hold onto the senate, but how many extra seats can they gain? I say two, moving an 18-17 advantage to 20-15.
Republians realized in September that this was their best shot at keeping some control of state government, but Democrats are now feeling comfortable that they will pick up enough extra seats to overcome any potential incumbent losses. Still, this will be a nail-biter.
First Congressional District
Democrat Diana DeGette doesn’t have major party opposition. This one is in the bag, and has been for a long time.
Second Congressional District
Ditto for Democrat Mark Udall, who will easily win re-election for the last time (Udall plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008).
Third Congressional District
Democrat John Salazar will win comfortably. A few weeks ago this race looked like it might be close, but Salazar surged ahead with a strong TV buy.
Fourth Congressional District
Republicans are spending a ton of money to defend incumbent Marilyn Musgrave, and it should be enough to keep her ahead of Democrat Angie Paccione. The best candidate in the race may have been Reform Party choice Eric Eidsness, but he’ll only manage about 10 percent of the vote.
Fifth Congressional District
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) moved Jay Fawcett to the top of the list last week, which indicates a real possibility for one of the biggest upsets in the country. Despite the optimism, I still think there are too many Republicans to sway (there are 100,000 more Republicans than Democrats in this district). Doug Lamborn will win narrowly, which will set up another bitter Republican primary in August 2008.
Sixth Congressional District
Republican Tom Tancredo will win handily. Democratic challenger Bill Winter made it easy for Tancredo by being the only serious congressional candidate in Colorado who couldn’t save or raise enough money to run TV ads.
Seventh Congressional District
This race has narrowed recently, but national Republicans don’t appear optimistic that Rick O’Donnell can beat Democrat Ed Perlmutter. A betting man would take Perlmutter without a second thought.