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September 26, 2006 05:12 PM UTC

Colorado Makes Three Top Targets, Salazar Drops Off

  • by: Colorado Pols

Dem Notes reports on the newest congressional race rankings from The National Journal, and Colorado plays a major role in the top 50 seats most likely to switch hands. Here’s how Colorado looks:

(ranked by most likely to switch parties)
#2: CD-7 (Ed Perlmutter vs. Rick O’Donnell)
#39: CD-4 (Angie Paccione vs. Marilyn Musgrave)
#50: CD-5 (Jay Fawcett vs. Doug Lamborn)

The fact that CD-5 would make the top 50 is obviously the biggest surprise on the list, but it’s also worth noting that CD-3 (Scott Tipton vs. John Salazar) has dropped off the list completely.


55 thoughts on “Colorado Makes Three Top Targets, Salazar Drops Off

  1. Lamborn has turned one of the most Republican districts in the country into a competetive district.  What a joke.  If Lamborn wins, which is questionable, the Democrats will surely target this distrit with a better candidate in two years. 

    1. If Stillborn manages to keep this safe Republican seat in GOP hands, I suspect he will do so by a very narrow margin and face a GOP challenger in two years.  I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jeff Crank or Lionel Rivera……

      1. Number 50 huh? Looks like someone’s in trouble. I’m sure the DCCC will be funneling a LOT of money in the fiftieth most winnable district in America.

        However, national political research groups like Congressional Quarterly know that Lamborn’s going to DC. They’ve put him in the “On Their Way” club -for first-time candidates who are going to walk in the general.


        1. The National Journal is the “other” insider source alongside CQ.  They’re both considered reliable, staid outfits.  So your contrasting comment about CQ (implied vs. the Journal) improperly reduces the importance of the source.

          That CO-05 is in the top 50 is unheard-of, but Lamborn is certainly doing his best to move it up the chart.  This is, no doubt, still an outside chance for Jay Fawcett, but the DCCC is actually considering the status of the race per its head, Rahm Emmanuel.  They might just send some money Jay’s way if they think it’s moving into the “competitive” column – don’t be completely shocked if it happens.

          This may truly be a year of change in Congress.  Races that aren’t even *on* the top-40 list are polling in favor of Democrats. 

          1. I didn’t mean to use the term blog perjoratively, I was more referencing online punditry, and they both are good journals. However, there are a number of races that are more legitimately close than Lamborn’s that should have made this list. WY-AL, KS-3, OH-6, UT-2 among them. That a single journal ascribes the moniker “fiftieth most competitive race in the house” to a district should not be the end all be all barometer of that races competitiveness. It should be looked at holistically, and in the whole, more sites say nay then yea to this race being competetive.

            Now, I can understand the desire for Colorado pundits to react strongly to this, I mean, it gives us something to talk about, but keeping some perspective is in order.

            1. The Republicans couldn’t pry Matheson out of UT-02 with a nuclear weapon.  Just got done responding to a story in another blog; Rep. Sensenbrenner is holding up passage of the House expansion bill until he’s sure Matheson can’t switch districts (to the new “Republican” district) and give the new seat to the Dems!

              OTOH, I agree about WY-AL.  It’s probably closer than the Fawcett-Lamborn contest – though we probably won’t know unless someone does some polling.

              1. Matheson does have the incumbency card, but the party is heavily R (67% voted for Bush in 04), and like Moore in KS-3, he’s in the minority party. Plus lots of national money is going to Christenson. However, you’re right and he’ll probably be elected, just like Cubin, Moore, Wilson and Lamborn.

      2. If we could win, we would be there today.  But the folks don’t like us, so we’ll just have to stay and…..

        Drreeaammm, Drreeaaammm, Drreeaammm,

        Lionel is Mayor, and Jeffie’s Hefley’s little General, but together we can’t win. So for now we and our supporters will just have to……

        Dreaaammm, Dreeaammm, Drreeaaammm.

        In 2008, maybe if we be lucky, but by then our names will be flat and our positions still yucky, so we’ll just have to…..

        Drreeaamm, Drreeaamm, Drreeaaammmm, Dreaaammmm, Drreeaaammmm.

        Our hearts are blue, and so would you if you had to just sit it out and…

        Drreeaammm, Drreeaammm, Dreeaamm, Drreeaammm.

        Add your own verse, but the story just gets worse.
        In the famous word of Porky Pig…THHHHAAATTT’s All Folks.

      1. …another bloody and costly primary while Fawcett builds a war chest.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Both Way’s terrible campaign opens the door to supress turn out in the 5th, and if Jay can get some outside money (and TV of his own), we’ll be blue in the Springs.

        1. The smallest word with the greatest meaning in the english language…”IF.”

          If wishes were fishes we’d all take a swim.

          Fawcett is toast and those around him truly knows it.  Only Fawcett, himself, actually believes he can win.  Something along the lines of Denial, not to be confused with DE NILE (a river in Africa).

          In order for Fawcett to win, numerous Dems would have to win at the local level witn CD5.  Not likely to happen.  Seats that are going for the Dems:

          HD – 18.


          That is not a mandate, that is the status quo.  Fawcett can’t win under these conditions.

      2. You might be able to beat Tom Tancredo because he is so conservative, but then you’d face a more moderate Republican in two years who would probably win easily since the voter registration favors the GOP.

    1. You really do need two healthy parties.  The fact that Republicans have pretty much been able to dial it in has seemed to give us some pretty weak candidates the last few years.

      A good whack up the side of the head might be just what the Republican Party needs to get healthy again.

      1. I hope you’re right.  I’m voting for third party candidates in most races this election as a form of protest.  I hope the Republican party gets the message.

  2. The DCCC just released a list of 42 Democratic candidates in Republican districts that it thinks have a good shot of winning in November. The hope is to target these districts with fundraising efforts between now and the election. In addition, the DCCC lists another 15 emerging races to target.

    Fawcett doesn’t make any of the lists.

    So while one blog may think Fawcett has a top fifty chance, the DCCC’s not going to spend time working to get him elected. That spells trouble for Fawcett.

    1. I think it’s great that a guy like Fawcett (moderate, military) is running there because that’s the only kind of Dem that CD5 would ever elect. Lamborn will have to screw it up in textbook fashion in order to lose. But it’s correct to criticize him for making this race appear on a list like this, even if it’s at the very bottom.

      1. Point taken Ari,

          But answer me this. How many political blogs are there floating around the internet ether? The fact that one in 100(?) major blogs lists this on the very tail end of a list of competitive races isn’t Lamborn’s fault, it’s statistical variation. I’ve not seen any other pundits declare this a close race, but you had to know that one would throw it in a list at some point. Any list like this comes down to a certain measure subjectivity -perhaps the same subjectivity that decided that 40 of the 50, and all of the top 23, most contested elections are the Republicans to lose.

        1. and statistical variation are both true. But I also see that CD5 is regularly described as one of the most conservative in the nation, something like one of the top 5. Granting subjectivity and statistical variation, it’s still remarkable that anyone considers it competitive. It ought to be a slam dunk for the R’s always.

          As far as Lamborn’s responsibility… well, that’s just my own view of it. A more objective perspective is that there’s a visible split among CD5 R’s, what with Hefley’s denunciation of Lamborn and the latter’s reported spurning of his primary opponents after his victory. This split, along with the D’s nomination of (and unity behind) Fawcett makes this much closer than it normally would be.

          Hefley raised the race’s profile with his denunciation of Lamborn, and I’d bet it would have remained largely invisible outside Colorado without that. Why did Hefley do it? Only he knows for sure, but the opinions range from a principled man’s dismay at a sleazy campaign to a cynical politico’s sour grapes that his chosen successor lost.

        2. First, National Journal isn’t a blog, it’s a highly respected D.C. political publication.

          Second, look at all the major polling predictions: the top ~20 really *are* all Republicans facing losses.  Most of the prediction charts list 40 races, with only 10 Republicans; that National Journal adds another 10 Democrats and no more Republicans might be a sign that Republicans really are sucking wind this election season.

    1.   CD 7 is looking like a runaway…… Survey USA poll has:
      Perlmutter 54%
      O’Donnell  37%
        A 17% spread……..kind of like Ritter over Both Ways in gubernatorial race.

  3. There’s still almost no way Fawcett can pull this off. Even IF Beauprez’s screwups a la Holtzman suppress voter turnout, even IF Fawcett is able to raise another million bucks or so, even IF Lamborn continues to shoot himself in both feet, the numbers are just too staggering:

    187,725 Republicans
    88,437 Dems
    131,834 Unaffiliated

    And despite the fact that Fawcett has a military background and he’s a “moderate,” he’s still a DEMOCRAT, lest ye all forget.

    1. is that this will still be the closest race in the district’s history since the 70s. I have no numbers in front of me but I have to think that ’74 and ’76 were close.

      1. I thought Cronin got about 40%.  So to be the best race a Dem has ever run in CD 5, that simply means that Fawcett has to get 41% or more. He’ll be able to do THAT.  I can’t imagine Stillborn getting over 59%.

        1. in voter reg, imho. How many R’s has Doug turned off/converted? How many D’s and I’s has Fawcett inspired to vote. How much have Bush’s failure(s) impacted the race?

          This race has never been run before – only the night of 11/7 will tell.

            1. of being Doug Lamborn or John Hotaling. Unfortunately for me, I’m not, cause those guys are probably making a lot more bank than me. To be honest, I’m the only full time Lamborn apologist on this site. I don’t think they post here.

          1. Lamborn & Hotaling underestimate Joel Hefley’s popularity and respect in CD5.  If Joel Hefley says Lamborn is not worthy, people listen and believe him. 

            1. Kind of like in the primary, when Helfey told voters to vote for someone else. That sort of sway huh? Cuz Hefley’s boy got the nod, right? Oh wait, he didn’t? Hefley couldn’t beat Lamborn in the primary, and he can’t beat him in the general.

              1. Hefley did indeed tell the GOP to go vote for someone else in the primary, and they did.  Unfortunately, they spread their votes over four other candidates.  Do you really think that Stillborn would have received 50% plus one if he had been up against Jeff Crank OR Lionel Rivera, one on one?

              2. that the absentee ballots carried Lamborn to victory – votes that largely had been cast before the whole Colorado Christian Coalition affair. (Not to mention his son stealing signs – what ever happened there?) It really would have been interesting to see what would have happened if everyone still had to report to polling places to vote.

                1. Your arguement is specious for two reasons.

                  1) People credit absentees for sending Lamborn to victory, and the CCC mailer for swaying absentee voters. Absentee ballots went out July 7th, the CCC mailer was first reported on July 22nd. That is over two weeks later, by which point (according to Colo. Confidential) over 40% had been mailed back.

                  2) The CCC mailer was an absolute fiasco. Considering all the negativity that was heaped (unfairly) on Lamborn’s campaign in the immediaccy of that mailer (Entz, Michelli, Haggart, Gazette report on “negativity from Lamborn”), do you really, honestly, truly believe that got Lamborn votes? If anything, it lost him thousands, and all thanks to a 527 he had no control over.

                  1. The point I was trying to make was that the CCC mailing COST Lamborn votes. Obviously we can’t go back and ask the absentees who voted for Lamborn if they did so before the CCC fiasco, and if so, would they have voted for someone else if they waited. But it seems reasonable that some of the absentees would have voted differently. 500 such people could have made Crank the Republican nominee.

                    1. Sorry, I misread your first post. You are right, and it irritates me when people claim that the CCC mailer got Lamborn votes. If anything it lost him votes.

                      But in response to your claim, should those 500 or so voters have voted differently? It’s not like either Lamborn or Crank changed in the three weeks that this played out in. The only thing that happened is people began to assume that Lamborn was colluding with a 527, which he was not, and held that against him. His policy and his principles never changed. Had the CCC not taken it upon itself to send out that hit piece (not once, but twice, no less), then Lamborn would likely have won more handily (which I realize is in part your point) but neither man would have been any different than otherwise.

                    2. You’re absolutely right about Lamborn and Crank not changing. But 527’s do speak for candidates, with or without collusion or coordination, and I doubt that many voters make the distinction when they see the ads or read the mailers.

                      Should they have voted differently? Depends on your perspective. I’m not a CD5 resident nor am I a Republican, but it seems to me that Crank would have reached out to Lamborn and his supporters if he had won (and the other four as well). I think the alleged sleaziness of Lamborn’s campaign, whether that’s a fair charge or not, would be forgotten now if he lost, and therefore the CD5 R’s would be largely united behind their nominee, and therefore no one in his/her right mind would consider this race anything but cinched up for Crank.

                      This is a whole lot of Monday morning quarterbacking…

        2. You’ll have to forgive me. I spent the years 1997-2005 living in Seattle, and before that there was never any reason for me to pay attention to CD5. When did Cronin run?

            1. Thomas Cronin was a professor of American Government at Colorado College in 1982.  He has written numerous textbooks on American politics and government that are in use in Political Science programs throughout the United States.  He moved on years ago to the University of Oregon.

              Cronin received large amounts of funding from the DNC and the Kennedy clan in Massachusetts.  Even with all of that help, many of the conservative Dems in El Paso County voted for Kramer.  Kramer won in some of the most heavily populated Democratic precincts.

              Cronin, and his liberal ways was even too far left for the Dems in El Paso County.  Just as Fawcett has been aligning himself with Pelosi and the “pull-out” now strategy, it will backfire on November 7th.

    2. The Republican candidate is not merely disliked by many of his fellow Republicans, but actually hated.

      There have been a fairly good number of well-known/respected GOPers who have refused to endose Lamborn (Hefley being the most notable), and some have even signed on with Fawcett.

      The GOP does not have any truly exciting statewide candidates to drive their out “lazy voters” (people who only vote for presidential elections or when truly excited about something).

      And there is that roughly 132K unaffiliated voter count there which could do some serious damage, either way.

      On the Dem positive side:
      Jay is a strong candidate. If he can get on TV (I am assumng he is not yet from previous posts) he can swing a lot of voters who are thinking “I know Lamborn is my party’s guy, but he’s so ‘Eew!’ “

      The Dems have a pretty strong Gov. candidate.

      The pot ballot question. If the state goes the same way Denver did in 2005, we will see a huge increase in younger Dem-leaning voters who defy all polls of “likely voters” because they do not fall into the “likely voter” pool to be surveyed. Congress is the first thing on the ballot and the most likely thing these kids will vote on if they vote on anything other than the ballot issue (which is pretty far down ballot and in the middle of a bunch of other questions).

      Bottom line: this race is far form over.

  4. From a Fort Morgan Republican

    For some of you this posting is repetitive, but I think worth of reposting.  It was only after much contemplation that I have come to my conclusions, for what they’re worth:

    I’ve been following the posts on the Paccione/Musgrave debate.  I must say it is fascinating to me as a life-long Republican just how sensitive this new crop of Republicans are when their beliefs are challenged.  Having the advantage of age and experience over these apparently young blokes, I feel compelled to throw in my two cents.
    I have been a businessman my entire life.  The party I grew up in no longer exists; at my age I’m not sure I even can muster up the energy to fight the extremism that has permeated both the state and national party.  I believed in small government, that local government was the best government; I belive in the rights of the ordinary man, loathed corporate dominance in any sector, and thought the issues of women’s rights and sexual preference were best left to the individual. I’ve always been very sensitive to the enviroment and how we keep our air and water clean. I am also a devout, tolerant Christian.

    What has my party given us?  No Child Left Behind, the largest ursurpment of local power in the history of our government; we passed an energy bill through Congress worth nearly $13 billion dollars last year supported by our Congresswoman. It was the traditional industries of coal, oil and natural gas that benefitted inordinately from the federal trough, leaving the fledgling renewable industries to divvy up a small portion of the pie.  In light of the overwhelming scientific data that demonstrates that human activity is affecting our atmosphere, the federal administration, enabled by our very own representatives continue to protect these industries from accountability at the same time they are making unimaginable profits.  We have struggling rural communities on the eastern plains that are in dire need of new industry like ethanol and wind.  When Amendment 37 was put in to place nearly two years ago, our very own state legislator at the time, Rep. Greg Brophy, opposed the initiative.  This initiative has now given Colorado two of the largest wind farms in America. 

    Just this past year both our very own Rep. Cory Gardener and Senator Greg Brophy went on record as opposing Referendum C; it would also have repealed the senior citizens property tax adjustment that is giving significant relief to our elderly population in the district and statewide.  Had Referendum C failed, Morgan Community College, Northeastern Junior College and the Community Colleges in SE Colorado (all Congressional District 4 colleges)would have closed. I am an old sage and it is no secret that both Senator Brophy and Representive Gardener take their political cues from Congresswoman Musgrave, who also opposed Referendum C and I believe opposed Amendement 37 on ideological grounds.

    There was much discussion two days ago about the award given by Colorado Farm Bureau to Angie Paccione.  Congratulations Angie.  I have been a member of Farm Bureau for a number of years.  In fact, Congesswoman Musgraves husband is a Farm Bureau insurance agent in our county.  I was taken back by the comments by the two individuals who were taking aim at Farm Bureau.  It is an organization of utmost respect and it’s President is a fine farmer from Washington County.  One might ask why the Farm Bureau which is a conservative, yet thoughtful organization would choose Angie Paccione over Congresswoman Musgrave.  I believe I have at least part of the answer.  I had a friend of the family share with me recently that a letter was sent from the Farm Bureau to the Congresswoman describing their weariness of her near total fixation on gay marriage issues while ignoring eastern Colorado agriculture; there was the promise that if she did not change her focus they could not support her in the next election. I also know that many local sugar beet farmers were stunned by her vote to pass CAFTA.  This was one of the 11th hour votes the administration needed to pass this bill,  and President Bush counted on Congresswoman Musgrave to support the administration’s policies over the wishes of her constituents.

    All of these things keep adding to my uneasiness in further supporting the Congresswoman.  I have always believed that representatives should first and foremost represent the wishes of their district and not subordinate those responsibilities just because the President needs someone to carry his water.

    This past week Congresswoman Musgrave spoke at a family values convention and made the statement that the most important issue facing America today is the preservation of traditional marriage. I would respectfully disagree with the Congresswoman.  In fact, given the many struggles we face today I’m not sure I would even rate it in the top 10. I do not for one minute deny the fact that Congresswoman Musgrave BELIEVES that gay marriage is the most important issue facing my district; what troubles me is the fact that it is unlikely the highest priority of the constituents of Ft. Morgan and beyond.  If, in the event, she does not believe this is the most important issue facing the district, then one can only come to the conclusion that this position has monetary benefits for the campaign as the sole reason. 

    We also now have the revelation that Karl Rove’s step-father left his mother to be in a committed relationship with another man, and that Rove tried to pressure the publisher to omit that information.  We are also well aware of the orientation of one of Dick Cheney’s daughters.  I for one could not care in the least about the sexual orientation of those individuals or anyone elses for that matter; I believe that is something of concern for the individual.  I doubt that Karl Rove or Dick Cheney would be interested in denying their loved ones the same legal rights that traditional marriages are afforded.  It is this hypocrisy that I can no longer tolerate.

    This is what bothers me as someone who worries about his family.  How much longer can we spend like there is no tomorrow?  There was a reference in yesterday’s blog to Angie’s personal finances.  I know people struggle, and I have experienced financial difficulties myself.  I would suggest that Angies issues would likely pale in comparison to the financial disaster that is occuring in Washington under the watch of our current Congresswoman.  I worry about our rural communities in Colorado.  Just when will we have sufficient reform in the utility world so that farmers and communities can reap the benefits of an inexhaustible natural resource?  I had the chance to hear Angie speak earlier this year and she is very vocal about a new energy economy for Colorado.  The flip side for this is that I know the Congresswoman works closely with the fossil industry in this state.  This is not a personal attack on Marilyn, or Bob Beauprez for that matter, but real world reality is when you take siginificant amounts of money from those industries in your campaign, you will vote their dollars.  It’s just the way politics have become.  Money driven.

    I’d like to close this with the admission that for the reasons above I have decided to vote Democratic for the first in my life.  This is not a personal attack on the Congresswoman, just something I must do.  I do not believe that statement she made last week in any way reflects the values or the concerns of my family or the 4th congressional district.  Although I do not know Angie, I believe we should give her the chance to show us what she can do.  If Farm Bureau believes in her strong enough to give her their top award, it gives me the confidence to know I’m not making the wrong decision. While her husband, who is a local Farm Bureau agent may not agree with my decision to vote for Angie, I believe we would agree that Farm Bureau is a sterling organization.

    I imagine my comments will be the subject of much tongue lashing by the obvious suspects on this issue.  I have little tolerance for ignorance and don’t intend to debate their ill-philosophies.  It’s a saying in farm country that it’s not a good idea to wrestle with a pig in mud; all you do is get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

    Thank you for your time and the opportunity to give my opinions on these matters.


    1. were more like you, I’d have far more respect for the Republican party.

      I expect there are many Republicans who share your feelings, though few of them share your eloquence.

  5. Winter’s had some missteps lately. Amazingly, he managed to make that irresponsible blowhard Tancredo look courageous. What are Winter’s odds now?

    (PS: Looking forward to seeing “Tancredo: Courage” yard signs sprouting up like weeds in my neighborhood in the near future, as obnoxious as those unintentionally ironic “!Viva Tancredo!” signs a few years ago. Trust a flag-waving, English-only hypocrite like Tancredo to write a book that features a burned U.S. flag on its cover, and to have yard signs with – gasp! – Spanish on them.)

  6. Just wanted to echo the “THANK YOU” post above. I appreciated the poster’s eloquence and directness, as well as his fair assessment of the situation in CD 4. It was a joy to read something from someone who is not rabidly partisan or extremist, like many of the posts on this site are.

  7. There is a lot of talk about Fawcett.  As an indep voter, i am not moved by party politics – and i can not stand lamborn.  What a joke of a leader and right wing christian nut job.

    I also hear from the Fawcett campign that he is making a TV buy next week.  More HMMMMMMMMM!  I also hear that 527s are coming in for him from women’s groups – can you say 52% of the population.  I have a feeling they will do everythng possible not to have Lamborn and Dobson in one place!!!

    My bet – Fawcett is going to DC.  lamborn is bad for America – no American should be subjected to the lack of Freedoms that lamborn stands for!

    1. Well, “Political Independent”, you certainly sound like one. And I have nothing for implicit trust for users who have been members for, oh, say, the last 10 minutes. However, you are entitled to your opinion.

      I’m wondering if you know the scope of Fawcett’s buy? Cable, network? Prime-time, day-time? When does this buy begin?

      What 527’s are you refering too? I don’t see any women’s groups listed on his site, so I would be curious to see which ones you had heard of.

      1. id be interested to see those claims substantiated, as ive said all along that the only way fawcett could make a run is if 527s come in and back him. and yes, we need LHGQ to comment on all of this.

  8. Has anyone seen Lamborn Has God-Like Qualities lately?  I hope Pat Robertson and James Dobson haven’t been asking God to strike him (or her) down…….

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