By Shaun Boyd
LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– A Colorado congressional race is already shaping up to be a bruising battle. Three Democrats are now vying to replace Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who’s running for governor.
State Sen. Dominick Moreno is the latest to announce a bid. He joins state Rep. Brittany Pettersen and state Sen. Andy Kerr in the Congressional District Seven Democratic primary.
“You’re seeing a new generation of Democrats, who are very substantive people, and I think that shows that the Democrats are in a good position to maintain that seat,” says Democratic strategist Mike Dino.
But he suggests it’s not a slam dunk. Perlmutter, he admits, made the seat appear safer that it is, keeping Republicans at bay.
“They’re probably looking forward to him moving on so they have a chance at it. I do believe Congressman Perlmutter did move the needle toward the Democrats and having an advantage there,” said Dino.
Republican analyst Dick Wadhams agrees, “I think it opens up an opportunity for Republicans that we otherwise would not have.”
Wadhams says the districts’ abundance of swing voters makes it unpredictable and the “Bernie Sanders effect”, he says, could work to Republicans’ advantage, “I think you’re going to see these Democratic candidates fall all over themselves to get more liberal and to address that Bernie Sanders wing. If that happens, and if the Democrats nominate someone who has moved so far left, it opens up an opportunity for a republican candidate.”
While no Republicans have stepped in so far, Wadhams says look for a crowded field in this race on both sides, “Because open seats don’t happen very often in Colorado.”
Perlmutter has held the seat for more than a decade.
Dino predicts the race will be one to watch in 2018, “It has the likings for a pretty competitive race.”
Both Dino and Wadhams say just how competitive the race is will depend not only on who the candidates are, but on how Pres. Donald Trump is polling next year.