October 16 2006, 11:07 AM
We're about three weeks away from Election Day, and here's what we know (or think we know) in the big races as the clock ticks down: Governor This is Democrat Bill Ritter's race to lose because Republican Bob Beauprez has made too many mistakes and doesn't have enough time to recover. The only way Ritter loses is if Democrats don't turn out to vote in strong enough numbers. Otherwise, this one is probably over. Attorney General A recent poll showed this race to be closer than anyone would have expected, but Republican John Suthers has significantly more money than Democrat Fern O'Brien, who is a virtual unknown. I don't see how Suthers loses. Treasurer This should be the closest statewide race. Democrat Cary Kennedy and Republican Mark Hillman are neck-and-neck, but Kennedy has more money to go on television. I'll give Kennedy the slight edge here. Secretary of State This is a strange race, because Democrat Ken Gordon was handed the seat on a platter and decided not to take it. Current Secretary of State Gigi Dennis has made a mockery of the office, but Gordon never seized the opportunity. Republican Mike Coffman, meanwhile, has been picking up endorsements from major newspapers and is the more well-known of the two candidates. This could be close, but Coffman has the advantage thanks to Gordon's slumber. State Senate Democrats look to be in control and might even pick up an extra seat or two. State House This is where the biggest battle is being staged, because Republicans think this is their best chance to keep some sort of balance in state government (since they will probably lose the senate and the governor's mansion). Control of the House could go either way. 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 to have an easy re-election bid, but then Republican Scott Tipton started to close the gap. Salazar may have pulled back ahead, however, in large part because he has more of a presence on television than Tipton. Fourth Congressional District It appears as though Republican Marilyn Musgrave will win re-election once more. Democrat Angie Paccione has been getting hammered by negative TV ads and took too long to respond, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) decided last week to pull their financial support from the race. The DCCC's exit suggests that polling data is not favorable for Paccione. Fifth Congressional District This race should have been a gimme for the GOP, but then Republicans elected Doug Lamborn in a contentious primary that has left bitter feelings lingering among the party faithful. Democrat Jay Fawcett has a real chance to pull what would be one of the biggest upsets in the entire country because of the heavily-Republican voter registration in CO-5. Sixth Congressional District Republican Tom Tancredo will coast to re-election. Democrat Bill Winter never put together a strong enough campaign to pose a real challenge. Seventh Congressional District Democrat Ed Perlmutter holds the lead over Republican Rick O'Donnell, but a barrage of ads on television could swing the pendulum either way. This is Perlmutter's race to lose, however, and he hasn't shown any strong sign that he is going to lose it.