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Top Races in 2016: Mountain Region

Elections judge Tim Drago collects a ballot from a passing motorist at the Denver Elections Division Building in Denver on Election Day 2014. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images File Photo)
Elections judge Tim Drago collects a ballot from a passing motorist at the Denver Elections Division Building in Denver on Election Day 2014. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the seventh in a series looking at the most competitive House and Senate races in 2016. The Mountain Region covers Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.  

6th District: House Democrats wouldn’t have been sad to see GOP Rep. Mike Coffman leave this seat to run for the Senate, but they’re still confident they can win this competitive district, even though the congressman is seeking re-election. Coffman easily defeated the hyped former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff in 2014, but Democrats believe state Sen. Morgan Carroll is even better. President Barack Obama won the 6th by 6 points in 2012 and 9 points in 2008, so this is the type of district Democrats must win to get back to the majority. It won’t be easy.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rating: Leans Republican.  

Colorado Senate: Republicans aren’t sure whether they have a candidate in the race who can defeat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet after Coffman and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler declined to run. A handful of Republicans are running and state Rep. Jon Keyser is expected to join them in January, but all of them have to ramp up their campaigns. Democrats would improve their chances of taking back the majority in the Senate by re-electing Bennet and holding the Nevada open seat so any takeovers would add to the party’s net gain.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating: Leans Democratic.  

Utah 4th District: Democrat Doug Owens narrowly lost to Mia Love, 50 percent to 47 percent, last cycle and is back for a rematch. The congresswoman didn’t help herself with stories about flight reimbursements but, unlike in 2014, Owens will face hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars of attack ads next year. As the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress, Love looks to have a bright future in the party, if she can win re-election.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating: Safe Republican, but could get more competitive.  

Wyoming At-Large: GOP Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis’ retirement creates an open seat. And even though Garfield disputed the state’s existence , Wyoming will host a competitive Republican primary next August. Races in the Equality State tend to develop late, but the field of replacement candidates could include state Rep. Tim Stubson and attorney Liz Cheney, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter. Lummis is the only woman in the House Freedom Caucus , so the primary could influence the balance of power within the GOP conference.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating: Safe Republican.  

What races would you add to the list?


Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016

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