Assuming all goes according to plan, Colorado will know by mid- to late next week which candidates will face off in the November elections.
Upsets are possible for two key reasons, the first being the lack of polling. And the handful of polls out there have shown high amounts of undecided voters, meaning people are still making up their minds. Second, and most important, independents can participate in the primaries for the first time, meaning pollsters and party insiders alike have no idea which party's primaries they'll participate in, let alone who they'll vote for.
So who's going to win? We asked a few trusty insiders on both sides of the aisle and an independent political analyst to give us their favorites.
We'll start with the slam dunk. Walker Stapleton should win the GOP gubernatorial primary, as polls have shown. Though Victor Mitchell might give Stapleton some competition, independent political analyst Eric Sondermann thinks he'll still claim a victory because his challengers haven't been very strong.
"I think it would be an upset of immense proportions if Walker Stapleton did not win it, and did not win it handily," Sondermann says. "He's winning by default, more than anything else; I don't know of a deep reservoir of excitement for Walker Stapleton on the Republican side."
The bigger question, of course, lies in the Democratic primary for governor. That race, along with the Dems' attorney general primary, are still likely to be the biggest question marks heading into Tuesday. In the four-way Democratic gubernatorial primary race between Congressman Jared Polis, former state treasurer Cary Kennedy, former state senator Mike Johnston and Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne, most seemed to think the momentum was in Polis's favor. One Democratic strategist thinks Polis will narrowly pull off the win. Another told us Polis will win big.
But it's far from a done deal.
"I cannot make a prediction on the Democratic side," Sondermann says.
Grab your popcorn, folks.
Can self-macing Levi Tillemann overcome poor fundraising to nab an upset in the Democratic primary in the closely watched 6th District race? His challenger, party favorite Jason Crow, has spent a lot of money filling the airwaves to clinch a victory, which will probably pay off, though bleeding so much cash so early is likely to leave him with empty coffers for the November general election against well-funded incumbent Republican Mike Coffman.
"I think there'll be a protest vote for Levi Tillemann, but at the end of the day I don't think it'll be terribly close," Sondermann says. "Crow will win that primary to set up that battle royale for November [against Coffman]."
Joe Neguse, who is vying for Boulder's 2nd District, currently represented by Polis, and incumbent 1st District Representative Diana DeGette should both win their primaries comfortably, though DeGette's progressive challenger, Saira Rao, will probably garner quite a few protest votes, as well. Rao has raised considerably more money than both Tillemann and Neguse's 2nd District primary challenger, Mark Williams.
"All the obvious ones will win," one Democratic strategist says.
The final big race pits establishment pick Phil Weiser against progressive Joe Salazar on the Democratic side, and it's a race Sondermann expects to potentially be the one to watch on Tuesday.
"Weiser has all the advantages, all the establishment support, and yet, if I were to look for an upset, that's where I think an upset might be possible," Sondermann says.
So, yes, your vote matters — on both sides of the aisle. Even on the Republican side, where there's noticeably less drama, victory margins will be closely monitored, as will turnout.
Confused about how to vote? Here's our how-to from a few weeks ago.
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