Posted: November 6, 2006 12:11 PM
For the last three weeks I've run down the major races
in Colorado to see where they stand, and with one day to go until Election Day, here's my last look (as well as my predictions).
This is one of the easiest races to call. Democrat Bill Ritter will be Colorado's next governor. Mark it down.
Republican Bob Beauprez is actually losing ground in every new poll that has been released in the last week, and he is now trailing Ritter by about 20 points. I don't think the race will be that big of a blowout, but I think Ritter will take it by 10 points or so.
This has been a strange race to watch over the last couple of weeks, because polls have consistently shown that Democrat Fern O'Brien is within striking distance of Republican incumbent John Suthers. O'Brien raised very little money and never made it onto TV to advertise, and Suthers has raised a ton of money and did have a decent TV buy. There's no real reason that O'Brien should be close here, other than the fact that the top of the Republican ticket is sagging with Beauprez and she shares the same last name as Ritter's lieutenant governor choice (Barbara O'Brien).
Suthers will win because I don't see how he can't, but it may be fairly close (4-7 points).
The most recent poll by the Rocky Mountain News
had Democrat Cary Kennedy ahead by nine points. Kennedy is on television, while Republican Mark Hillman is not, and that will make the difference in a close race. I say Kennedy wins by 3-4 points.
Secretary of State
Democrat Ken Gordon's TV ads with him in a shark tank were the most memorable of the election, but will it be enough to overcome Republican Mike Coffman? This race will also be close, but Coffman's name recognition from two straight state treasurer victories will be enough to put him over the edge. I say Coffman by 2-3 points.
As I've said before, there's no question that Democrats will hold onto the senate. The mystery lies in how many extra seats they can gain. ? I say the Dems pick up at least two of three formerly Republican seats, moving an 18-17 advantage to 20-15.
This is the battle that veteran politicos really have their eye on, because it is the Republicans' only real hope to avoid Democratic control of all three sections of the legislature (house, senate and governor). I think Democrats will lose a couple of targeted house seats but will pick up an equal number of surprise victories, leaving the control of the state house in Democratic hands once again.
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
Of the competitive congressional races, this is one of the easiest to call (with CO-6 being the other). Democrat John Salazar will breeze to re-election by about 7 points.
Fourth Congressional District
This one has gone back and forth over the last six weeks, and now Democrat Angie Paccione is in a dead-heat with Republican Marilyn Musgrave. Normally I would give the edge in a close race to the incumbent, but in a Democratic year in Colorado, I think the fact that this race is close is bad news for Musgrave. I say Paccione wins narrowly, by just 1-2 points.
Fifth Congressional District
Will Pastor Ted Haggard's dismissal amid scandal affect voter turnout in Colorado Springs? It might, but I don't think it will be enough. Republican Doug Lamborn reaps the benefit of too many die-hard Republican voters and beats Democrat Jay Fawcett by 5 points.
Sixth Congressional District
Republican Tom Tancredo will win handily because Democrat Bill Winter didn't do anything to make a serious challenge. Democrats may be kicking themselves over this one, because if they were going to beat Tancredo, this might have been the year.
Seventh Congressional District
Last week the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) pulled out of this race and left Rick O'Donnell to fend for himself. The NRCC's absence means that they probably have polling data showing Democrat Ed Perlmutter to be comfortably ahead. I say Perlmutter wins by 5-7 points.