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Colorado: Three’s a Crowded TV Market

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter's new district is deemed competitive by Republicans. (Tom Williams CQ/Roll Call File Photo)
Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter's new district is deemed competitive by Republicans. (Tom Williams CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

As triage news trickles out of the national committees, it is highly doubtful any of it will be about a Colorado House race. The reason? The three competitive House races in the state share the Denver media market.

If one of the committees opts to pull the plug on a candidate, evidence of the move will be subtle. Instead of canceling an ad-buy altogether, the money will most likely stay in Denver, but be directed toward another candidate.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has about $2.9 million in ad reservations in Denver. The National Republican Congressional Committee has about $2.2 million.

The state’s three competitive races are in the 3rd, 6th and 7th districts. There is no indication coming out of the committees or their independent expenditure units of how much they plan to earmark for each race. Rumors abound that one campaign or another is about to get “triaged,” but no credible evidence has surfaced about any committee’s intentions to cut off a candidate.

Two of the races are considered tossups. The 1st district is currently occupied by Republican Rep. Scott Tipton. He defeated then-Rep. John Salazar (D) in one of the biggest upsets of 2010. A former Salazar staffer, Sal Pace (D), is challenging Tipton.

The other tossup is the 6th district. After redistricting, Rep. Mike Coffman saw his once-safe Republican seat gain the heavily Democratic city of Aurora. That radically changed his constituent makeup and he now has a challenge from Democratic state Rep. Joe Miklosi.

The least competitive race of the three is in Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s (D) 7th district. Aurora was once in that district, and the loss of that community to the 6th made his seat more competitive than it was before redistricting. Ceramics manufacturing executive Joe Coors (R), a scion of the family behind the well-known beer of the same name, is challenging Perlmutter.

National Republicans say they are pleasantly surprised with the effect Coors has had on the race. One national GOP strategist sheepishly treats the race almost as a blind pig finding an acorn. They did not recruit Coors – he got into the race on his own.

And now that he is in, the hope is that his self-funding capacity will put a scare into the Perlmutter campaign and bleed some of that DCCC’s Denver money out of the 3rd and 6th districts.

But a Democratic national strategist called such a scenario “completely untrue” and was quick to say that Coors is too “extreme” for the district.

“In the end, this [district] isn’t necessarily where we are going to feel like we are going to have to have a heavy hand,” the strategist added.