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) Ed Perlmutter* (70%)↑
Jefferson County Democrat is the clear frontrunner here.

(R) Walker Stapleton* (30%)
Two-term State Treasurer has been on this path for a long time now, but may hold off on formal announcement until the fall.

(R) Victor Mitchell* (25%)↑
Former one-term state Representative has already put $3 million of his own money into this campaign, which puts a lot of fundraising pressure on Brauchler.

(R) George Brauchler* (25%)↓
Brauchler is already waffling on several issues, and fundraising could get difficult with wealthy opponents like Mitchell, Robinson, and Stapleton.

(D) Mike Johnston* (20%)↑
Johnston cannot beat Perlmutter in a Democratic Primary…but he can raise money, apparently.

(R) Doug Robinson* (20%)↑
Nephew of Mitt Romney is quite possibly the whitest man in Colorado.

(D) Cary Kennedy* (15%)↓
Needs to figure out how to generate some momentum after her campaign announcement bombs.

(D) Noel Ginsburg* (10%)↓
Officially in the race for governor, but hasn’t done much of anything to indicate serious campaign is forthcoming.

(R) Kent Thiry (10%)
Lots of GOP consultants stand to make lots of money if DaVita CEO gets in the race.

(R) Ray Scott (10%)
Grand Junction state senator seems to think he could get Donald Trump’s endorsement.

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

(R) Jack Graham (10%)
After an uninspiring bid for the GOP Senate nomination in 2016, we’re surprised to see Graham’s name being mentioned here.

(R) Justin Smith (10%)
Larimer County Sheriff could be interesting if he’s serious.



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

(R) Tim Neville (OFF)
Jeffco state Senator considered making a run here, but from what we hear, he probably stays out.



(R) Cynthia Coffman* (70%)↓
Coffman will almost surely face a tough challenge here. Don’t be surprised if she also draws a strong Primary opponent thanks to Coffmangate.

(D) Michael Dougherty* (30%)
Deputy D.A. in Jefferson County was former head of Criminal Justice Section under Attorney General John Suthers.

(D) Phil Weiser* (30%)
Former Obama official and past dean of CU law school enters race with backing of Ken Salazar.

(D) Joe Salazar* (20%)
Hard to say if it is better for Salazar to have one Democratic Primary opponent or two. It may not matter either way.


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



(R) Brian Watson* (50%)
Former candidate for state house (2012) has the money to finance a long campaign and is plowing ahead already.

(R) Justin Everett* (30%)
Sleepy Justin could be a thorn in a GOP Primary…if he can raise enough money.

(D) Steve Lebsock* (20%)
State Rep. from Northglenn announced bid on March 25 after failing to generate any traction in attempt to float his name for Governor.




(R) Wayne Williams* (80%)
Williams could have a long road convincing voters that 2016 election problems have been properly addressed.




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



(D) Jared Polis* (90%)
With another decisive victory in 2016, Polis shouldn’t have much to worry about in 2018.



(R) Scott Tipton* (90%)
Tipton’s surprisingly-easy victory in 2016 should leave him with little opposition in 2018.



(R) Ken Buck* (90%)
Like most of Colorado’s Congressional delegation, Buck isn’t going anywhere.



(R) Doug Lamborn* (80%)
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* (20%)
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) Mike Coffman* (70%)
Democrats are probably done expending serious resources against Coffman after another big victory in 2016.

(D) Jason Crow* (25%)
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) David Aarestad* (5%)
Unfortunately for this little-known Democrat, the ballot isn’t printed in alphabetical order.



(D) Andy Kerr* (50%)
State Senator, Jeffco teacher will be formidable candidate.

(D) Brittany Pettersen* (25%)
Lakewood state Rep. didn’t wait long to announce her campaign.

(R) Libby Szabo (20%)
Jefferson County Commissioner perhaps best-known GOP elected official in district.

(D) Dominick Moreno* (15%)
Hard to see how Moreno can win a Jefferson County-heavy district with no real name ID or support within Jefferson County.

(R) Don Ytterberg (15%)
Former chair of Jefferson County Republican Party probably runs here.

(R) Don Rosier (10%)
Can’t do worse than his half-assed bid for U.S. Senate in 2016.

(R) Jerry Natividad (10%)
Did better than Rosier as Senate candidate in 2016…but not much.


(D) Ed Perlmutter (OFF)
Perlmutter will run for Governor in 2018.


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.

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