It’s official: Colorado is a battleground

Editor’s note: This is the Herald’s weekly roundup of campaign news.

DENVER – Both presidential campaigns confirmed this week something that Colorado TV viewers already suspected: This is one of a handful of states that will determine who will be the next president.

The campaigns named their battlegrounds in messages to supporters this week, and Colorado was one of five states on both lists. The other four are Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Virginia.

In addition, President Barack Obama is targeting North Carolina, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, and presumed Republican candidate Mitt Romney is focused on Arizona and Nevada.

With 538 electoral votes at stake, strategists for the two campaigns are putting together maps that get them at least 270 votes – the magic number needed to win.

The lists make sense, said Geoffrey Skelley, an analyst for Sobato’s Crystal Ball, a national political newsletter from the University of Virginia.

“Winning Colorado is vital for Obama’s re-election hopes. If Romney is able to win Florida and Ohio, Obama really needs to hold onto states such as Colorado and Nevada in order to get to 270,” Skelley said. “You can expect both the Obama and Romney campaigns to pour a lot of money and resources into the Rocky Mountain state.”

Another poll this week – from Purple Strategies – showed Colorado up for grabs, with Obama leading 48 percent to 46 percent. That’s inside the 4 percentage point margin of error.

Romney wins money chase: Romney and the Republican National Committee outraised Obama in May for the first time in the campaign, hauling in $77 million to Obama’s $60 million. It was a monthly record for both campaigns.

Paul rallies troops: Texas congressman Ron Paul says he will have up to 500 supporters on the floor at the Republican National Convention in Florida this August – around 20 percent of the total.

“And while this total is not enough to win the nomination, it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP!” Paul said in an upbeat email to supporters Wednesday.

Although Paul never seriously threatened Romney in the primary, his backers have successfully won delegate spots at state conventions, including in Colorado. Three Southwest Colorado activists helped Paul dominate Colorado’s slate of delegates.

Countdown: 17 days until the primary election. 150 days until the November election.

jhanel@durangoherald.com