Colorado (Open Seat)
Outlook: Likely Democratic
November 8, 2006 Update:
Bill Ritter (D)
August 2, 2006 Update:
For the first time, the Crystal Ball has decided to lean this race toward Democrat Bill Ritter; it is not that Congressman Bob Beauprez is a bad candidate or has done anything particularly wrong in his campaign. Rather, this state appears to us to be in the mood for change in the executive office, and that change means the moderate Ritter has a good chance to become governor. At the same time, this race without an incumbent is still competitive and is close enough that the lead could change hands.
June 29, 2006 Update:
Finally, Marc Holtzman has given up the ghost, admitting that his campaign did not collect enough signatures to pursue his GOP primary challenge to Congressman Bob Beauprez. But Holtzman has hurt Beauprez, and some of his charges may weaken the Republican in November, when he faces Democrat Bill Ritter. We’re not ready to move this out of toss-up status, but Colorado has been moving Democratic, so if 2006 is even a mildly Democratic year, then…
March 27, 2006 Update:
There really is no doubt that Colorado is drifting to the Democrats, and this was demonstrated in 2004. The surprise is that the nearly certain Democratic nominee Bill Ritter is even in some cases leading Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez in the polls. We are not at all certain that Ritter can maintain this momentum. Beauprez is a solid candidate, while Ritter has a somewhat divided party since he is partially pro-life on abortion. But it may simply be that Colorado is ready for a change after eight years of Republican rule. We’re not ready to say that, though.
Our previous update is still valid, and contacts from Colorado tell us that Republicans are fully aware that Bob Beauprez is in trouble. Again, it seems to be simply a “time for a change” mentality after two terms of a Republican governor in a state that has been tilting more Democratic of late.
There’s a wide-open race to succeed term-limited Republican Governor Bill Owens as he finishes his second term. Nonetheless, the Republicans have gotten off to a strong start, with second-term Congressman Bob Beauprez as the near-certain GOP standard-bearer. However, the candidacy of former University of Denver president Marc Holtzman and an effort to draft former Congressman Scott McInnis may disrupt an otherwise smooth ride to the nomination. Democrats have no clear frontrunner and this gives Beauprez–who represents a competitive district that Democrats would probably have to win statewide in order to capture the governorship–a definite advantage.
However, the Democrats are on the upswing in this state, having captured a U.S. Senate seat, a U.S. House seat, and the state legislature in 2004. So we should not write off the Democrats’ chances this soon.