DENVER – Left leaning Colorado Capitol Watch released a list of the most competitive legislative races of the cycle and predicted Democrats will regain a majority in the state House, possibly winning 34 of the 65 seats.
Republicans strongly disagreed with that crystal ball forecast, but were amused by the hot race ratings.
“I don’t see it that way and most experts don’t either,” declared Assistant House Majority Leader Mark Waller of Colorado Springs. Waller, who has been working with Republican candidates, believes the GOP will retain its majority in the House.
Waller readily agreed with Colorado Capitol Watch’s assessment that the House District 18 seat held by Democrat Rep. Pete Lee “may go to the GOP” in Colorado Springs.
Republican challenger Jennifer George “gets it. She’s doing a great job of knocking on doors and raising money,” said Waller. “She’s doing everything she can to win this race.”
Democrat Paula Noonan, a Democrat Jefferson County Board of Education member, founded Colorado Capitol Watch in 2009 to track legislative races and bills during the sessions. The nonprofit organization issued its August Review on Tuesday that included the House District 18 race in its top 12 too-close-to-call contests.
“Most exciting” – Senate District 22 race between Republican Rep. Ken Summers and Democrat Rep. Andy Kerr, both of Lakewood.
The race will be close, said state Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray), but he predicts Summers will defeat Kerr who voted for the “dirty dozen” tax increases and filed a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights that was passed by Colorado voters.
“Andy Kerr’s lawsuit against TABOR spits in the faces of voters,” declared state Sen.Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs).
“Most unusual donation” – It was made in the Senate District contest between Democrat Crestina Martinez of San Luis and Republican candidate Larry Crowder of Alamosa. Colorado Capitol Watch dropped that hint, but Brophy revealed the answer.
Martinez bagged a $400 contribution from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the same guy who has tried to ban soft drinks and and baby formula, said Brophy.
“Most expensive” – The House District 3 battle between incumbent Democrat Rep. Daniel Kagan and Republican challenger Brian Watson, both of Greenwood Village. More than $215,000 has filled the campaign coffers, and Watson received the lion’s share of $133,965 so far.
Neck-and-neck races listed include Senate District 26, incumbent Democrat Sen. Linda Newell of Littleton versus Republican challenger David Kerber of Greenwood Village; and Senate District 19, incumbent Democrat Sen. Evie Hudak of Westminster versus Republican candidate Lang Sias of Arvada.
Colorado Capitol Watch dubbed the Senator, “Hudak the Relentless” – Brophy called her an “extreme leftist tax increaser.” Brophy said Sias is a great candidate and predicted the Republicans will win by five points.
Most amusing were questions posed by Colorado Capitol Watch such as “Will Martinez get more money from other mayors?”
“Will Balmer pass along some of his money?”
“No, the contributions are for my race,” said Republican Rep. David Balmer, who is running for the Senate District 27 seat retired by term-limited Republican Senator Nancy Spence. According to state campaign finance laws, a candidate committee cannot donate contributions to another candidate committee.
“Has Baumgardner made women mad?”
“Women mad at me? No, not that I’m aware of,” said Republican Rep. Randy Baumgardner, who is running for Senate District 8. “My wife does get mad at me from time to time… I leave piles of papers on the kitchen counter.”
Will everyone shake hands when it’s over?” The answer will be determined after the General Election in November.
Top contests listed include House District 17, Republican Rep. Mark Barker versus Democrat retired firefighter Tony Exum in Colorado Springs; House District 28, Republican Amy Attwood versus Democrat Brittany Pettersen; House District 40, incumbent Republican Rep. Cindy Acree versus Democrat John Buckner in Aurora; House District 47, Republican Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff versus Democrat Chuck Rodosevich; House District 59, incumbent Republican Rep. J. Paul Brown, an Ignacio rancher, versus Democrat Michael Lachland, a Durango lawyer; and House District 61, Democrat Rep. Millie Hamner vs. Republican Debra Irvine vs. Independent former state Rep. Kathleen Curry.