Data for this chart was assembled from the following sources: Colorado Secretary of State’s website, the Democratic and Republican parties, political blog Mile High Politics, The Denver Post, The Gazette, The Fort Collins Coloradoan, The Pueblo Chieftain, The Durango Herald, The Steamboat Pilot, The Craig Daily News, The Montrose Daily Press, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, The Vail Daily News, The Summit Daily, The Greeley Tribune, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Loveland Reporter-Herald, The Aurora Sentinel and State Bill Colorado research.
Editor’s Note: This is State Bill’s first monthly look at the coming 2010 election in the Colorado House of Representatives. Election Day is Nov 2, 2010.
STATE BILL COLORADO
DENVER — Democrats enjoy a healthy 38-27 majority in Colorado’s House of Representatives. It’s unlikely they’ll lose their advantage in 2010, but they’re being forced to play a lot of defense, a State Bill Colorado analysis shows.
At this point:
• House Republicans enjoy a slight majority of incumbents, declared or undeclared, who face no cross-party opposition: 18 vs. the Democrats’ 16.
• Democratic incumbents face Republican opposition in 15 races; Republican incumbents face Democratic opposition in just four races.
• In races where there are no incumbents running, the edge goes to the Democrats: six seats to five.
To gain control, the Republicans would have to 1) hold both their current incumbent unopposed and opposed seats, 2) keep all four non-incumbent seats they held previously and 3) pick up at least six of the 15 seats now held by the Democrat incumbents.
Of those 15 seats, two are tossups, and another five are in districts that are decently competitive.
• TOSSUPS: 2 OF 15 SEATS
o Only two of the districts are, and have been, extremely competitive: HD-17 in El Paso County (now held by Democrat Dennis Apuan) and HD-27 in Jefferson County (now held by Democrat Sara Gaglardi).
• CLOSE, BUT PROBABLY SAFE FOR DEMOCRATS: 5 OF 15 SEATS
o In two competitive Jefferson County districts, Democratic incumbents nevertheless ran strong in 2008, and they’ll probably run strong again in 2010: HD-26 (now held by Andy Kerr) and HD-29 (Debbie Benefield).
o Another competitive district is HD-56 (Christine Scanlan) in the mountain communities of Eagle, Lake and Summit counties. In 2008, Scanlan lost Eagle County but still won the seat. Scanlan recently decided to run for re-election, not for a Senate seat being vacated by Dan Gibbs.
o Dianne Primavera’s HD-33 district spans four counties, including Boulder. But she, too, ran strong against Republican opposition in 2008.
o Nancy Todd, who ran unopposed in Arapahoe County’s HD-41, has competition in 2010.
• LIKELY SAFE: 8 OF 15 SEATS
o Three Adams County seats are opposed, but Democrats enjoyed hefty margins there in 2008: HD-32 (Ed Casso, unopposed in ‘08), HD-34 (John Soper) and HD-35 (Cherylin Peniston)
o Four contested Democrat seats are in Denver districts that also seem safe: HD-1 (Jeanne Labuda), HD-3 (Daniel Kagan), HD-6 (Lois Court), and HD-9 (Joe Miklosi).
o In 2008, Democrat Wes McKinley won most of the counties in his HD-64 in southeastern Colorado.
To get to the magic number of six, Republicans would have to win both of the tossup seats, and grab four of the five close seats (or win some other combination of six seats without suffering any losses). This is a tall order. However, the sheer number of races the Democrats must defend makes some GOP gains probable.