Five Political Races to Watch in 2018

Five Political Races to Watch in 2018
Brandon Marshall
It's been a solid fourteen months since we've had an election of consequence in Colorado. Well, that's about to change, because 2018 is filled with juicy races that should interest political nerds and novices alike.

Up for grabs in Colorado is, of course, the governor's mansion, in addition to statewide offices ranging from attorney general to secretary of state, seventeen of 35 state senators, all 65 state House members, and Colorado's entire seven-person congressional delegation. Neither of our two U.S. senators (Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner) are up for re-election, but this fall's votes will have big implications for Gardner's 2020 campaign in particular.

Wondering which races you'll really want to track on November 6? Here's what to watch:

5. Dean Heller
Sure, Dean Heller is a Republican senator from Nevada. But how Heller fares — he's considered by most pundits to be an early underdog against likely Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen — could very well have major implications for Gardner. Like Colorado, Nevada is a western purple swing state that has a Republican senator, yet it voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Heller's performance in November will be closely monitored as an early litmus test for Gardner's 2020 chances.

Should Heller go down, it could influence Gardner's polices as he seeks to shape himself as an independent-minded moderate heading into his 2020 re-election campaign. Should Heller survive, it could give the Gardner camp — and the GOP nationwide — a big boost.

4. 6th Congressional District primaries
For the first time in recent memory, a competitive primary in Colorado's only truly swingy congressional district will be the early bellwether of how much inter-party political divides — establishment versus progressive, Trump versus moderates — from the last two years still hold.

Attorney and Iraq War veteran Jason Crow, a Democrat, has racked up the lion's share of endorsements and posted solid fundraising dollars, pitting him as most pundits' early favorite and the pick of the establishment (Crow dislikes those claims).
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Chris Bianchi is a Westword contributor interested in politics.
Contact: Chris Bianchi