By Don Knox, STATE BILL COLORADO
It’s almost May — is it time to hear from the sacrificial lambs?
Yes … if you’re judging by recent candidate filings for 2010 Colorado General Assembly seats.
The vast majority of new entrants are filing in districts that State Bill Colorado considers less than or not competitive. (A district falls into that category if one party has 40 percent or more of registered voters; State Bill places 43 of 65 House districts there. It considers just 22 House districts “truly competitive.” In the Senate, eight of 19 seats are so designated.)
The exception is in a rough-and-tumble Senate District 6 in southwestern Colorado. Two other possibles are in House District 11 (Diagonal Highway between Boulder and Longmont) and Senate District 24 (Northglenn-Thornton). But Democrats have a strong upper hand in each.
* GOP hopeful Dean Boehler is making an already interesting SD-6 race more interesting. Boehler garnered top-line ballot status over current Rep. Ellen Roberts, who’s hoping to move to the upper chamber. The winner faces off against incumbent Sen. Bruce Whitehead, a Democrat in his first year in office after taking over a vacancy. The seat is narrowly competitive; Republicans have a 38-28 advantage in percentage of registered voters vs. the Democrats.
* In a narrowly competitive HD-11, the GOP’s Wes Whiteley has filed to run against Deb Gardner, the only Democrat trying to succeed Rep. Jack Pommer, also a Democrat. Democrats have 38 percent of registered voters vs. 26 percent for Republicans. Some Dems will lose seats in 2010, but a Boulder-area Dem losing would be something of a shocker.
* In SD-24, also narrowly competitive, the GOP’s Luis Alvarez will test incumbent Sen. Lois Tochtrop, a Democrat, in a re-run of their 2006 race. Tochtrop won that handily. The district tilts Democratic, with 38 percent of registered voters.
The other candidates will find their battles all uphill. At best, they’re gunning for an upset. At worst, they’re running merely to carry their party’s flag in an election that, conceivably, could hold some surprises.
* In HD-02, the GOP’s Thomas “Doc” Miller is running against Democratic incumbent Mark Ferrandino. Dems overwhelm the district with 52 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-04, Rick Nevin has filed as the only GOP candidate for the House seat being vacated by Jerry Frangas, a Democrat. Dems have 55 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-05, Ronald “Ronnie” Nelson is the only GOP candidate against three Democratic candidates vying to succeed Democratic Rep. Joel Judd. Dems have 48 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-07, home to term-limited Democratic House Speaker Terrance Carroll, the GOP entrant is Pauline Olvera. There are five Democrats vying for the seat. Dems have 55 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-08, Therese-Marie O’Sullivan has filed to be the GOP candidate against incumbent Democratic Rep. Beth McCann in the state’s most lopsided district (58 percent are registered Democrats).
* In HD-12, Jeffrey Ilseman, a Republican, and Bo Shaffer, a Libertarian, have filed to run for the seat being vacated by Democratic House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann; two Democrats are vying for the primary nod. Democrats have 40 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-15, the Democrats’ Marcus Cimino will do battle with incumbent GOP Rep. Mark Waller. Republicans have 46 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-16, incumbent GOP Rep. Larry Liston has picked up a Democratic competitor, Janet Tanner. Republicans have 40 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-43, Democratic hopeful Gary Semro will try to best incumbent GOP Rep. Frank McNulty. Republicans have 47 percent of registered voters.
* In HD-62, the GOP’s Randy Jackson is looking to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Edward Vigil. Dems have 50 percent of registered voters.
* In SD-11, Libertarian Douglas Randall has filed for the seat now held by Senate Majority Leader John Morse, D-Colorado Springs. In this seat, unaffiliated voters rule with 37 percent; Dems have 34 percent and Republicans have 29 percent. The district is strongly competitive, but Randall’s shot is longer because of his minor-party status.
* In SD-30, Katherine Facchinello, a Democrat, will oppose Sen. Ted Harvey, a Republican, in a solidly (46 percent registered) GOP district.
* In SD-32, the GOP’s Tyler Kolden is running against Sen. Chris Romer, a Democrat. The race gets interesting IF Romer quits to run for a possible Denver mayoral vacancy (as rumored) AND if the Democrats can’t find a viable candidate. Dems have double the registered voters in southeast Denver’s SD-32: 44 percent vs. 22 percent. Unaffiliated voters make up 34 percent of the registrants.
State Bill’s Election Trackers have been updated to reflect these candidacies. You can also access them at State Bill Colorado > Trackers > Colorado House / Colorado Senate