Colorado's slightly schizo political profile is in stark relief today, where the three competitive primaries are in stark contrast. You've got CO-02, the extremely safe seat Mark Udall is leaving for his Senate run and on the other end of the spectrum are the R+16 CO-05 and the R+10 seat CO-06. CO-06 is the seat being vacated by the immigrant-hating Tom Tancredo, and CO-05 is represented by freshman wingnut Doug Lamborn. Swing State gives the basics on those races.
The winner of these primary races are almost certainly going to be the general election winners, so it's no suprise that so many candidates are vying for them. Of particular interest for us is who is going to be filling Mark Udall's seat in D.C. next January. In what has been one of the most expensive primary races in the nation, and is expected to bring out lots of voters.
The contest pitting former state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, conservationist Will Shafroth and wealthy entrepreneur Jared Polis is expected to generate turnout surpassing the high of the past 10 years and perhaps even that of the big campaigns in the 1990s.
This time, the big turnout will be linked to the race for a U.S. House seat. The three biggest 2nd District Democratic primary turnouts of the past 20 years - in 1990, 1992 and 2004 - were tied to U.S. Senate races.
This year, 2nd District voters - residing in 10 counties stretching from the north metro area into the mountains - have been exposed to the costliest congressional primary in Colorado history, with the three candidates raising more than $9 million. The bulk of that is linked to Polis, who has devoted $5.3 million of his personal fortune to the effort.
The turnout will be interesting to see, and a potential indicator of who's going to come out in Colorado in November. This district will be key to Obama's and Udall's prospects in November--driving high turnout today and building that enthusiasm through the fall will be critical to flip the state to Blue in November.
For more background on the race--and one of the most ironic journalistic efforts to make a non-issue an issue by declaring it a non-issue (Polis's sexual orientation)--see this Time article.