colo-senate-senate-2016

Supreme Court Opening: A Dilemma for Swing-State Republicans

Portman expressed his condolences, but didn't stake out a position on whether Obama should appoint a successor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The sudden death of Antonin Scalia and ensuing fight over the process to replace him on the Supreme Court has created a vexing election-year problem for Senate Republicans, who – a mere nine months before November – are now caught between the competing demands of their conservative allies and moderate voters who could make-or-break the party’s already imperiled majority.  

In what might amount to their most high-profile decision of their campaigns, vulnerable Republican incumbents can side either with ideological allies who believe viscerally important issues like abortion-rights, immigration reform, and government overreach are at stake – or with moderates who are more broadly interested in lawmakers who lessen government dysfunction and help get things done.  

Republican Jon Keyser Enters Colorado Senate Race

Keyser wants to make his campaign against Bennet about national security. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Another, albeit expected, Republican  has announced that he's joining the crowded GOP field to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado.  

State Rep. Jon Keyser, a major in the Air Force Reserves who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced his candidacy Monday, casting 2016 as a national security election in which his military experience would given him an advantage.  

Down-Ballot Democrats Tread Carefully on Guantanamo Closure (Updated)

Ayotte has questioned Hassan's position on closing Guantanamo. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:59 p.m. | President Barack Obama has vowed to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to close Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, military prison, with two detainees having already been transferred abroad this week.  

But Democrats running for Congress in a year when national security has ascended to the forefront of voters' minds are making campaign promises of their own that don't necessarily align with helping the president fulfill his 8-year-old pledge. In Congress and on the campaign trail, Republicans say the facility will be around forever under their watch, setting up a fundamental contrast between the president and the Republican Party about what's a bigger threat to national security — closing the facility or keeping it open.  

Scott Tipton Not Running for Colorado Senate Seat

Tipton says he's not running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Colorado 3rd District Rep. Scott Tipton, who had long said he wasn't "closing doors on anything," told Roll Call Friday afternoon that he will be running for re-election to his House seat rather than running for the Senate.  

"You know, we’ve got a lot of issue we’re working on that are incredibly important for my part of the state and our state at large. And we’ve had some success, and that’s where we’re focused," Tipton said. Asked to clarify if he was still leaving the door open, Tipton said, "No, I'm running for the Third District."  

With the Senate Up for Grabs, All Eyes Are on the Presidential Race

Democrats think that Trump at the top of the ticket will make their path to control of the Senate easier. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Among those watching the White House race most closely a year from Election Day are those who stand to gain the most from the top-of-the-ticket contest. House and Senate candidates from both parties know their fates are closely tied to the fortunes of their parties’ respective presidential nominees and the tenor of the national conversation next November.  

“Obviously the national environment is something that, to a certain extent, we have very little control over,” NRSC Communications Director Andrea Bozek said. “So our mentality is to prepare for the worst-case scenario.”  

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Democrats are going all-in to try to beat Illinois Republican Kirk. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The script has most definitely been flipped  on Senate battlegrounds in 2016.  

This cycle, Republicans take nine of the 10 spots on Roll Call's list of the most vulnerable senators. That's a marked turn from 2014 , when there were nine Democrats and one Republican.  

Schumer and Reid Like the Lay of the Land in Senate Races

Schumer highlighted recruiting successes for Democrats in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democratic leaders are not being shy about their chances to move a handful of desks across the aisle and take back the chamber's majority.

"The map looks very good," New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer told CQ Roll Call last week. "First, the map itself is good. We have two Democratic, you know, seats that are in some degree of jeopardy. They have a much larger number."

GOP's Preferred Candidate Passes on Colorado Senate Run

Bennet is still without a top GOP challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a surprise announcement, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, the Republican whom Colorado and national party leaders had been counting on to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, said Wednesday that he will instead run for re-election, according to reports from Colorado's 9News .  

"There were serious family health issues that just recently came up," a GOP operative told CQ Roll Call.  

Bennet Gets GOP Challenger After Iran Deal Decision

Bennet became the 38th Senate Democrat to back the Iran deal Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Robert Blaha is likely to launch a challenge to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet in the next couple of days, he told CQ Roll Call Friday.  

When told that Bennet became the 38th Senate Democrat to back the Iran deal Friday morning, Blaha said, "OK, well then, I will be making an announcement based on his announcement."  

Republicans Search for Another Cory Gardner to Challenge Bennet

Republicans have yet to coalesce around a challenger to Bennet. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been a month of diminishing prospects for Colorado Republicans looking for a candidate to challenge vulnerable Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.  

Three Republicans have declined to run, beginning with the party's top pick, 6th District Rep. Mike Coffman, in a race that could affect the balance of power in the Senate. Drama within the state party has only distracted from the search for a credible candidate.