Jul 29, 2022 - Politics

GOP gets more optimistic in Colorado's congressional battlegrounds

Colorado's congressional district election forecast
Data: Axios Research; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The chances of Republicans retaking Congress are improving, in part because of the outlook in two key Colorado battleground districts.

Driving the news: Sabato's Crystal Ball, one of the nation's most prominent political prognosticators, shifted the new 8th Congressional District north of Denver from "Toss up" to "Leans Republican."

  • The 7th District, centered in Jefferson County, moved from "Likely Democratic" to "Leans Democratic."

State of play: Both are open seats and rare competitive races in Colorado, thanks to new redistricting boundaries.

  • Three other forecasters are more bullish on Democratic chances in the 7th District, while most agree the 8th District is a toss up that tilts Republican.

What they're saying: Kyle Kondik at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, which publishes the Crystal Ball, writes that in the 8th District, "these are also the kinds of seats that often vote for the opposition party in midterms: open, closely-contested districts."

  • In the 7th District, he adds: "while this is a fairly blue district, it's not unwinnable for Republicans under the right circumstances."

Between the lines: An internal Democratic poll from June which leaked Thursday showed Democratic candidate Yadira Caraveo with 36% compared to 44% for Republican rival Barbara Kirkmeyer.

  • One caveat is that the poll was conducted before the Supreme Court's decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, which Democrats consider a game changer, and before Kirkmeyer was officially the GOP's nominee.

The big picture: The broader political mood appears to favor Republicans 100 days from the November election.

  • At the national level, polls suggest that even blue-tinted districts will come down to the wire.
  • But Democrats in Colorado point to their large fundraising leads in the battleground congressional districts as evidence they will mount stronger-than-expected campaigns.
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