Colorado Democrats push for edge in Congress

Associated Press

DENVER – Colorado's reputation as a battleground state is playing out in its congressional races, where Democrats hope to capitalize on redistricting to regain the edge now held by Republicans.

Republicans hold a 4-3 edge in the state's House delegation. But Democrats set their sights Tuesday on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in suburban Denver's 6th District. State lawmaker Joe Miklosi challenged Coffman in a seat that always voted Republican but is now more competitive after redistricting and has a larger block of Hispanic voters in Aurora.

The new map was the biggest coup for Democrats in the once-a-decade redistricting battle. The Denver district judge who accepted the map acknowledged the state's changing demographics – Colorado is now one-fifth Latino. Unaffiliated voters remain the state's largest voting bloc.

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter faced a vigorous challenge in the 7th District from Republican Joe Coors, who invested $3.1 million in his campaign. Perlmutter has proven to be a tough match since taking office in 2006 in a seat that includes suburban Jefferson and Adams counties: He's won re-election by margins of 10 points or more.

The 7th District is one of three in which party registration is almost evenly divided among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. The other two are Coffman's and the 3rd District – the state's largest and historically most competitive.

That's where Republican Rep. Scott Tipton faced Democratic state lawmaker Sal Pace. Tipton defeated Democratic Rep. John Salazar in 2010 to take the district that encompasses Pueblo, southern Colorado and the Western Slope.

The GOP has a major advantage in the 4th District covering the Eastern Plains, where freshman Republican Rep. Cory Gardner faced state Senate President Brandon Shaffer.

In the 2nd District, which includes Boulder and Larimer counties, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis faced Republican state Sen. Kevin Lundberg. The district favors Democrats.

Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette in Denver and Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn in Colorado Springs were expected to cruise to victory in their overwhelmingly Democratic and Republican districts, respectively.

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