Last week I ran down the major races in Colorado and took a look at where I think we stood with three weeks to go. Now that we are two weeks from Election Day, it’s time to do it again.
A new poll released Monday by SurveyUSA showed Democrat Bill Ritter leading Republican Bob Beauprez by 18 points. Unless Democratic turnout is really poor compared to Republicans, we’re looking at Governor Bill Ritter.
I’ll repeat here what I wrote last week: Republican John Suthers has significantly more money than Democrat Fern O’Brien, who is a virtual unknown. I don’t see how Suthers loses.
Democrat Cary Kennedy has begun a big statewide TV blitz and should end up with more name recognition than Republican Mark Hillman. In a close race, I’ll give it to Kennedy.
Secretary of State
Democrat Ken Gordon is running perhaps the best ad of the election, but it may be too late to be enough to defeat Republican Mike Coffman, who has picked up more newspaper endorsements and is relatively well-known from his two campaigns for state treasurer. I’ll say Coffman wins in a squeaker.
Democrats won’t lose control of the senate, which they hold with a narrow 18-17 margin. The question here is: How many extra seats can they pick up? I think they’ll add at least two additional seats when the dust settles.
This is where the biggest battle is being fought, because for Republicans it is their last hope to avoid a Democratic three-peat (control of both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s mansion). This really could go either way, but in a Democratic year I think the donkeys will narrowly keep control.
First Congressional District
Democrat Diana DeGette doesn’t have major party opposition and will coast to re-election.
Second Congressional District
Democrat Mark Udall doesn’t have a strong opponent — in fact, I can’t even remember the guy’s name — and 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 looked for awhile like he’d get a real challenge from Republican Scott Tipton, but Tipton is no longer running television ads and internal polls suggest that Salazar leads by a wide margin. This one is probably over – Salazar will win easily.
Fourth Congressional District
Republican incumbent Marilyn Musgrave has run a strong, but expensive, campaign against Democratic challenger Angie Paccione. Despite the expected voter backlash against congressional Republicans, Musgrave has planted enough doubts about Paccione that she should win again.
Fifth Congressional District
Democrats think this is their best chance to pick up a congressional seat aside from the seventh district (see below). Democrat Jay Fawcett is in position to pull the upset over Republican Doug Lamborn, but in a district with a 2-to-1 voter registration advantage for Republicans, it’s still Lamborn’s job to lose. A betting man would take Lamborn, but Fawcett could very well pull off one of the biggest upsets in the country if Republican voter turnout is weak.
Sixth Congressional District
Republican Tom Tancredo will win re-election against Democratic challenger Bill Winter – the only serious congressional candidate in Colorado who couldn’t save or raise enough money to run TV ads. You can’t win a congressional seat in Colorado without being on television. This is over.
Seventh Congressional District
Ed Perlmutter is the best bet to give Democrats a 4-3 advantage in Colorado’s congressional delegation. Republican Rick O’Donnell had a lot of money and the benefit of a tough Democratic primary, but he has repeatedly shot himself in the foot with a litany of unpopular public policy ideas (such as calling for an end to Social Security). This is a volatile district that could go either way, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if O’Donnell won, but it is probably unlikely.