The Big Line: 2018

biglineflag18NOTE: Percentages reflect Colorado Pols’ estimated chances of winning a particular raceNumbers are not intended to estimate final margin of victory.

Candidates with an asterisk (*) are officially running, or widely presumed to be running.


(D) Jared Polis* (50%)↑
With Perlmutter out of the race, Polis jumps to the head of the line.

(R) Victor Mitchell* (25%)↑
Mitchell has the money and the time to hold this spot at least until Walker Stapleton enters the race.

(R) Walker Stapleton* (20%)
State Treasurer a sure bet to enter race by the end of Summer.

(R) Tom Tancredo (20%)↑
In a crowded Republican field, Tancredo makes more sense than anyone might care to admit.

(D) Cary Kennedy* (15%)↑
Solid Q2 fundraising effort gives Kennedy some much-needed momentum.

(R) George Brauchler* (15%)↓
Brauchler is fading fast.

(R) Mitt Romney’s Nephew* (15%)
Doug Robinson is quite possibly the whitest man in Colorado.

(D) Mike Johnston* (15%)↓
Johnston had better chance here with both Polis and Perlmutter in the race.

(R) Barry Farah* (10%)
Colorado Springs businessman looks a lot like every other GOP candidate for Governor in 2018.

(D) Donna Lynne (10%)
Colorado Lieutenant Governor may run even though she promised she wouldn’t. Looks to be the “Chamber of Commerce” candidate.

(D) Noel Ginsburg* (10%)↓
He’s running a real campaign and raising real money, but this just seems too far out of reach.

(R) Cynthia Coffman (10%)
Sounds more and more likely to run here rather than seek re-election as Attorney General.

(R) Lew Gaiter* (10%)
He’s officially seeking the GOP nomination…whoever he is.

(R) Steve Barlock* (10%)



(D) Ed Perlmutter (OFF)
Withdrew from race in July 2017.

(D) Ken Salazar (OFF)
Announced on March 23 that he would not run for Governor.

(R) Kent Thiry (OFF)
Disappointing to a few GOP consultants who stood to make lots of money.



(R) Cynthia Coffman* (50%)↓
Coffman looks more and more likely to run for Governor instead of re-election.

(D) Phil Weiser* (40%)↑
Impressive quarterly fundraising numbers give Weiser a big boost here.

(D) Michael Dougherty* (25%)
The most experienced prosecutor of the bunch, but will that matter to voters?

(R) Ken Buck (25%)↑
Greeley Congressman is talking about making a bid for AG if Coffman indeed decides to run for Governor instead.

(D) Joe Salazar* (10%)↓
Absolutely brutal Q2 fundraising an ominous sign for Salazar.

(D) Brad Levin* (10%)↑
He can apparently raise decent money, FWIW.


(D) Stan Garnett (OFF)
After taking long look at the race, Garnett passed on 2018.



(R) Brita Horn* (20%)
Route County Treasurer gets the nod here mostly by default.

(R) Justin Everett* (20%)
Sleepy Justin needs to figure out a way to raise money.

(D) Steve Lebsock* (20%)
It’s hard to see how Lebsock gets any traction in this race.

(R) Polly Lawrence* (20%)
State Rep. from Douglas County joined race after Q2 filing period.

(R) Kevin Lundberg* (20%)
Conservative firebrand looking for a new job when he is term-limited from State Senate.

(R) Brett Barkey* (10%)
District Attorney from Hayden, Colorado is the latest Republican to join the field.

(R) Brian Watson (10%)
We’ll move him back near the top if he actually runs; might be the only candidate who can raise any money.




(R) Wayne Williams* (70%)
Williams could have a long road convincing voters that 2016 election problems have been properly addressed.

(D) Jena Griswold* (30%)
Williams’ boneheaded response to Trump election fraud inquiry provides a new opening for a challenger.




(D) Diana DeGette* (90%)
DeGette will hold this seat until she decides to do something else.



(D) Joe Neguse* (65%)
Former CU Regent, SOS candidate looks like the early favorite here. More challengers likely.

(D) Ken Toltz* (10%)
Hard to see much of a foothold here.

(D) Mark Williams* (10%)
If CD-2 voters are looking for the most “Boulder liberal” candidate in 2018, they just hit the jackpot.

(R) B.J. Nikkel (10%)
Not many Republican names floating around for CD-2 at the moment.


(D) Jared Polis (OFF)
Running for Governor in 2018.



(R) Scott Tipton* (70%)
Tipton won re-election handily in 2016 despite tough opposition.

(D) Diane Mitsch Bush* (30%)
That’s Mitsch Bush (two words, no hyphen — we checked twice). If state Rep. wins in 2018, it will have more to do with Democratic wave than anything else.



(R) Ken Buck* (90%)
Buck is safe if he runs for re-election, but he’s talking about a bid for Attorney General if Coffman steps aside.

(D) Karen McCormick* (10%)
Latest Democrat to enter race has contributed about $20k of her own money.

(D) Chase Kohne* (10%)
Kohne and McCormick are both veterinarians, FWIW.

(D) Larry Germanson* (1%)
Raised nearly $700 in Q2!



(R) Doug Lamborn* (50%)↓
Lamborn can’t seem to make it through an election cycle without drawing a primary opponent, but nobody has really come close to beating him in his 10+ years in Congress.

(R) Owen Hill* (25%)
State Senator the latest Republican to attempt to knock off Lamborn in GOP Primary. Hard to see how he can be the first to succeed.

(R) Darryl Glenn* (25%)
The Unicorn returns! But this time, he has a (somewhat) realistic chance of winning.



(R) Mike Coffman* (70%)
Democrats are probably done expending serious resources against Coffman after another big victory in 2016.

(D) Jason Crow* (20%)
If this seat is truly winnable for Democrats, Crow projects to be a strong contender. At the very least, Crow seems to have Coffman camp worried.

(D) Levi Tillemann* (5%)
Everybody into the pool!

(D) David Aarestad* (5%)
Unfortunately for this little-known Democrat, the ballot isn’t printed in alphabetical order.



(D) Ed Perlmutter* (90%)
After saying in July that he would not be a candidate, Perlmutter changed his mind on Aug. 21 and will run for a seventh term.

(D) Dan Baer* (5%)
Only remaining Democrat still in the race since Perlmutter announced re-election. He’s not going to win.




Colorado Republicans threw everything they had into keeping their one-seat majority in 2016…and still only held onto a one-seat majority. The GOP won’t be so focused in 2018.

Too early to call either side here, but hard to see Republicans barely barring the door for a third straight cycle.



In a tough 2016 for Democrats, they still picked up 3 more seats.

Republicans couldn’t make headway in 2014 or 2016, so no reason to think 2018 will be any different.



The “Big Line” and its contents are the exclusive creation of Colorado Pols and will be updated as conditions change prior to the 2018 General Election. It is an accurate, if unscientific, look at the races from insider perspectives from both parties. It does NOT reflect who we might like to see win, but reflects who has the best chance to win a General Election based on inside information and our analysis of that information.

Usage allowed with credit to

Comments are closed.

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.