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Last week I wrote about the maneuvering for the 2008 U.S. Senate race and the congressional seat in CD-2 that would be vacant if Democrat Mark Udall runs for the senate. We won’t have any big statewide races like governor or state treasurer in 2008, but what about the other six congressional seats?
Democratic incumbent Diana DeGette will hold this seat until she decides she doesn’t want to hold it any longer. No Republican will beat DeGette here unless something goes catastrophically wrong during her tenure, and no Democrat is likely to challenge her in a primary, either. The voter registration advantage is so overwhelmingly Democratic in this Denver district that we can forget about it once again in 2008, just like we forgot about it in 2006.
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CD-3 (Western Slope)
Democrat John Salazar won his re-election bid this year by a whopping 25 points over Republican Scott Tipton, which probably makes him safe for several years unless something bad happens. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) will likely consider CD-3 a safe Democratic seat after Salazar’s drubbing of Tipton â€“ a move that will dry up the money spigots for any potential Salazar challenger. Republicans will probably have to wait and hope that Salazar either screws up badly or decides to run for another office.
CD-4 (Northern Colorado)
Republican Marilyn Musgrave fought off another tough Democratic challenger in 2006, dispatching Angie Paccione by a narrow margin. After two straight losses to the incumbent Musgrave, who sits in a Republican-leaning district, national Democrats may decide to focus their attention and money elsewhere in 2008. It doesn’t help that the Dems don’t have an obvious candidate who could challenge in two years.
The more interesting question is whether or not Musgrave will see a primary opponent in 2008. Republicans aren’t happy that they were forced to spend so much money defending the ultra right-wing Musgrave for the second straight cycle, and there may be a movement to put up a more moderate Republican in opposition. The composition of CD-4 is such that a moderate Republican incumbent would probably hold onto this seat easily for several years, which would give the NRCC one less congressional seat to worry about.
CD-7 (Lakewood, Golden, Arvada, Adams County)
Democrat Ed Perlmutter beat Republican Rick O’Donnell by double digits in what was expected to be a much closer race in 2006. Perlmutter’s substantial victory means that he’ll probably be safe from a rabid challenge by the NRCC in 2008, for the same reason that Salazar is probably safe in CD-3: There’s no use expending extensive resources on a race that might not be winnable. Republicans were hoping that outgoing Rep. Matt Knoedler would be ready to run in 2008, but Knoedler was easily defeated in his bid for a state senate seat this year; it’s hard to get excited about a Knoedler candidacy for congress when he couldn’t even win a state senate seat in the same area.
There are still got two more seats to discuss (CD-5 and CD-6), so check back here for moreâ€¦