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 (40%)
Perlmutter was coy about a potential gubernatorial bid on The Get More Smarter Show in August, but he’s expected to make a run here.

(D) Ken Salazar (40%)
Former U.S. Senator and Interior Secretary was thought to be moving away from a potential run — but that was before Hillary Clinton lost the race for President (Salazar was in charge of Clinton’s Presidential transition team).

(R) Walker Stapleton (30%)
Two-term State Treasurer has been on this path for a long time now.

(R) George Brauchler* (20%)
The Arapahoe County DA toyed with the idea of a Senate run for several months in 2015. For now, at least, he appears to be more focused on running for Governor.

(R) Victor Mitchell* (20%)↑
Former one-term state Representative is in the race and says he plans to spend millions of his own money in order to get to the Governor’s Mansion.

(R) Cynthia Coffman (20%)
It’s hard to see a clear path for Coffman here, but she is apparently not thrilled about her current job as Attorney General.

(D) Noel Ginsburg (20%)
Officially in the race for governor…for now.

(D) Cary Kennedy (20%)
Former State Treasurer has been eyeing this race for several years. Hard to see how she gets past Perlmutter or Salazar, though.

(D) Mike Johnston (20%)↑
State Senator from East Denver officially joined the race on Jan. 17. His “Frontier Fairness” tagline is hard to get excited about.

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

(R) Owen Hill (10%)
Unlikely that this goes anywhere, but Colorado Springs state senator raised decent money when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2014.

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

(D) Mike Merrifield (5%)
Colorado Springs state senator floating his name, a lot, but not getting much interest.

(D) Joe Salazar (5%)
We don’t see it, but Adams County lawmaker keeps talking about a run.


(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) Stan Garnett (50%)
Buzz seems to be growing for the Boulder District Attorney.



(R) Brian Watson (60%)
Former candidate for state house (2012) has the money to finance a long campaign and is plowing ahead already.

(R) Justin Everett (20%)
Sleepy Justin could be a thorn in a GOP Primary.



(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%)
History shows that Lamborn will probably get another Primary challenger. History also shows that Lamborn will somehow win re-election once again.

(R) Owen Hill (20%)
State Senator apparently focusing on trying to unseat Lamborn in GOP Primary.



(R) Mike Coffman* (90%)
Democrats are probably done expending serious resources against Coffman after another big victory in 2016.



(D) Ed Perlmutter (90%)
Perlmutter won’t lose if he runs for re-election, but could be looking at a run for Governor instead.



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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