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Top Races to Watch in 2016: The Mountain Region

Bennet is trying to avoid the same fate as his Democratic colleague Udall suffered in 2014. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Editor's note: This is the eighth in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch. The Mountain Region includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.  

Colorado Senate:  Last cycle, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet saw his home-state colleague, Mark Udall, go down to defeat. Now Bennet is trying to avoid the same fate. Republicans are still searching for a candidate after Rep. Mike Coffman recently announced his decision to seek re-election to the House . Potential GOP challengers include Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, businessman Robert Blaha (who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Doug Lamborn in a GOP primary), state Sen. Owen Hill and others. Democrats could improve their chances of taking back the majority in the Senate by re-electing Bennet and holding the Nevada open seat so other victories would pad their margin. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates the race Leans Democratic .  

Colorado’s 6th District:  Coffman’s decision to seek re-election puts a wrench into Democratic plans to take over his open seat. But that doesn’t mean the party will give him a free pass. President Barack Obama won the 6th by 6 points in 2012 and 9 points in 2008, but Coffman easily dispatched former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff, 52 percent to 43 percent, in 2014. State Sen. Morgan Carroll has been mentioned on the Democratic side, but the field is still fluid. As far out of reach as this race seems for Democrats, it’s probably the type of district the party has to win in order to get the majority in 2016. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates the race as Favored Republican .  

Utah’s 4th District:  After an unsuccessful race for Congress in 2012, Republican Mia Love was elected in 2014. But her 50 percent to 47 percent victory was narrower than expected for the conservative district. As the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress, Love looks to have a bright future with the party. But next year’s race is important to solidify her standing at home in order to take a larger national role. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates the race as Safe Republican .  

What races would you add to the list?

Related:

Colorado GOP Squabbles Complicate Bennet Challenge Mike Coffman Rules Out Colorado Senate Bid Democrats Search for Candidate Who Can Beat Coffman

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