19 May 2008

Stage Set For General Election Contests

The dust is settling on the Democratic party's state convention and assembly (along with several Congressional District assemblies). But, Colorado Pols has hit the more crucial issue in Colorado politics this cycle, the state senate districts that will be targeted by Republicans this time around.

Republicans need three more state senate seats to prevent themselves from being shut out by Democratic majorities in both houses of the Colorado General Assembly and the Governor's office for the next two years. Republicans are too far behind in House seats (40-25) to have a viable shot at winning those seats -- there are many Democratic open seats this cycle as a result of term limits, but most are in safe Democratic districts. The Republicans have instead notched their arrows and taken aim at three suburban state senate seats held by Democratic women, two open and one held by incumbent Betty Boyd, an important player in the health care debate:

• Senate District 19, which covers part of Jefferson County and is held by outgoing Sen. Sue Windels, D-Arvada.

• Senate District 21, which covers part of Jefferson County and is held by first-term Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood.

• Senate District 25, which covers part of Adams County and is held by outgoing Sen. Stephanie Takis, D-Aurora.

These seats, along with the Presidential race, the U.S. Senate race in Colorado, the Democratic effort by Ken Salazar aide Betsy Markey to pick up House District 4 currently held by Marilyn Musgrave, a weak incumbent in what should be a safe Republican district, and initiative battles will take center stage this election cycle.

Dan Willis, secretary of the Democratic Party of Denver and blogger extraordinaire, has the line up for these races:

SD19 - Incumbent Sue Wendels (D) is term limited
[Democrat] Evie Hudak State Board of Ed. Placed on ballot
by Assembly
[Republican] Libby Szabo Placed on ballot by Assembly

SD21 - Incumbent [Democrat] Betty Boyd was placed on
ballot by Assembly
[Republican] Vicki Stack Placed on ballot by Assembly
[Republican] Chenoa Jensen Eligible to petition

SD25 - Incumbent Stephanie Takis (D) is term
[Democrat] Mary Hodge Rep. Placed on ballot by Assembly
[Republican] Robert Hadfield Placed on ballot by Vacancy
Committee to replace Heather Miller who withdraw
after being nominated by Assembly

Suffice it to say that the Republican line up is weaker. Democrats are running an incumbent and two Democratic office holders. Republicans are running three candidates who announced their races late and are unknown to the general public at a time when coat tails are likely to favor Democrats and Republican party identification is at a record low.

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