DENVER - Less than a year from the 2010 elections, there's a chance for Cortez Republican Scott Tipton to pull a major
upset over John Salazar, the incumbent Western Slope congressman, a respected pollster told Denver-area Republicans on
Floyd Ciruli, a nonpartisan pollster, said he has not seen a poll that pits Salazar and Tipton, but Salazar is the
However, recent elections around the country show unaffiliated voters leaning toward Republicans, while Democratic
voters tended to stay home, Ciruli said at the Lincoln Club of Colorado.
He pointed to Tipton and Ryan Frazier of Aurora as two Republicans who might benefit.
"I think the Republican Party wisely saw that lightning could strike out there. This could be one of those exceptional
years," Ciruli said.
Tipton has said he intends to run against the Democratic agenda, the health-reform bill and increased spending. That,however, will be hard to do, Ciruli said in an interview.
"Salazar is not a national Democrat. Salazar is a very distinctive Western Democrat," Ciruli said.
Democrats outnumber Republicans by 81 in the House of Representatives. Ciruli thinks Republicans can reasonably expect
to win back 20 of those seats next year, but if "lightning strikes" and the GOP wins the 41 seats it needs to take over
the House, Tipton and Frazier could be part of that group.
Salazar beat Tipton in 2006, 62 percent to 37 percent, but the national climate was more favorable for Democrats that