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) Tom Tancredo* (25%)↑
Tancredo’s potential candidacy actually makes more sense now than it did in 2010 or 2014. And at least one poll shows that he is the early GOP frontrunner.

(R) Walker Stapleton* (20%)↑
Finally made candidacy official in late September.

(R) Victor Mitchell* (15%)
Mitchell has the money and the time — but can he resonate with GOP voters?

(D) Cary Kennedy* (15%)↑
Kennedy keeps turning in solid fundraising quarters, but her campaign is also spending a lot of money.

(D) Mike Johnston* (15%)↓
Johnston is doing well on the fundraising front, but where does he find purchase in a Dem Primary?

(R) Cynthia Coffman (10%)↑
After much hand-wringing, Colorado Attorney General finally enters race for Governor.

(R) Mitt Romney’s Nephew* (10%)↓
Doug Robinson is quite possibly the whitest man in Colorado. It’s hard to see how he has a path with Stapleton now officially 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 is running even though she promised she wouldn’t. Looks to be the “Chamber of Commerce” candidate.

(D) Noel Ginsburg* (10%)↓
Let’s Not Get Too Excited.”

(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) George Brauchler (OFF)
Withdrew from race on 11/13 to run for Attorney General.



(D) Phil Weiser* (50%)↑
Weiser and his impressive warchest moves to front of line with Coffman exit.

(R) George Brauchler (30%)
Brauchler hoping that AG race isn’t as difficult as running for Governor.

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

(D) Joe Salazar* (10%)↓
Absolutely brutal Q2 fundraising followed up with horrendous Q3 numbers. Salazar doesn’t appear to have the ability to raise enough money to even mount a serious campaign.

(D) Brad Levin* (10%)↑
Sort of the opposite of Salazar; can raise money, but nobody knows who he is.


(R) Cynthia Coffman (OFF)
Running for Governor in 2018.
(R) Ken Buck (OFF)
Says he won’t run for Attorney General in 2018.


(R) Polly Lawrence* (25%)↑
Moves to the head of the line with impressive Q3 fundraising performance.

(R) Brian Watson* (25%)↑
Watson won’t have trouble funding this campaign, which gives him automatic edge over every name below.

(R) Brita Horn* (20%)
Routt County Treasurer is top name in second tier.

(D) Dave Young* (20%)
Greeley lawmaker is the best option for Democrats in this race.

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

(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 picked an odd race to jump into.

(D) Steve Lebsock* (20%)↓
Dave Young’s decision to join the race likely dooms any hope for Lebsock.

(D) Bernard Douthit* (10%)↓




(R) Wayne Williams* (65%)↓
Doesn’t seem to be particularly engaged in re-election bid thus far.

(D) Jena Griswold* (35%)↑
Griswold is good at raising money, but this would be a tough race for any Democrat.




(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 is the clear frontrunner in race that will essentially be decided with Democratic Primary.

(D) Ken Toltz* (15%)
Ability to raise money from decent rolodex gives Toltz advantage over anyone else not named Neguse.

(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.

(D) Chris Kennedy* (10%)
Grand Junction City Council Member announced campaign in early September.



(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%)
Has raised about $50k in total, which is far and away more than any other Democrat in this race. That is not a good thing.

(D) Chase Kohne* (5%)
Kohne and McCormick are both veterinarians, FWIW.

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



(R) Doug Lamborn* (50%)↓
Controversy over stock purchases could be fodder enough to cost him this seat in ’18, but Lamborn has survived many challenges before.

(R) Owen Hill* (25%)
State Senator failed to impress in Q3 fundraising reports, but anti-Lamborn money probably would come later anyway.

(R) Darryl Glenn* (25%)
The Unicorn returns!



(R) Mike Coffman* (60%)↓
Nobody changes his stripes as often as Coffman. Of course, nobody keeps running into problems as often as Coffman, either.

(D) Jason Crow* (30%)↑
Crow starting to separate from rest of Democratic pack with another strong fundraising quarter.

(R) Roger Edwards* (20%)
This is certainly not a good year for an incumbent Republican to face a Primary challenge, no matter the candidate.

(D) Levi Tillemann* (5%)
Not doing enough to be considered anything more than a spoiler.

(D) David Aarestad* (5%)
We’ll just keep this one-liner right here: Unfortunately for this little-known Democrat, the ballot isn’t printed in alphabetical order.



(D) Ed Perlmutter* (90%)
Perlmutter has never won this seat by less than double digits. This trend should continue.



(D) Dan Baer* (OFF)
Finally saw writing on the wall and bowed out of race in late September. If he has a political future, he’s got a lot of work to do in making up for this nonsense.




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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