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)

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.  

Colorado  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.  

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 .  

Election Eve Updates from The Rothenberg Political Report

With just hours before Election Day, the only question is how good of a night it will be for Republicans.  

In the Senate, the following states have been updated: Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky and West Virginia .  

The Businessman Taking On Mia Love (Video)

The candidate:  Businessman Bob Fuehr The member:  Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson is retiring from Congress after seven terms. The district:  Utah's 4th is House Republicans' most certain pickup this cycle. Matheson had a unique political brand and without him in the equation, the battle to watch for this seat is the GOP nomination process. Fuehr will face off against Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love.

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Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats

McIntyre is retiring, giving Republicans a strong opportunity to pick up his House seat in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I wrote my first Dangerous Dozen open House seats column in this space 14 years ago, so I figured I might as well keep the streak going, though it isn’t nearly as impressive as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

As in my Jan. 17, 2000, column, the districts are listed in order of vulnerability. “All of the races on the list currently are worth watching, but I've concluded that the races at the top of the list are more likely to change party control than those at the bottom,” I wrote back then. The same applies now.

Race Ratings Change: Utah's 4th District

Matheson is not seeking re-election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Matheson’s retirement means the Democratic hold on Utah’s 4th District is all but over. Matheson represented the most Republican district held by a Democrat in the House. Now that he’s not running for re-election, his party will be hard-pressed to replace him.

The presidential numbers are dismal for Democrats in this district. Mitt Romney carried the 4th District, 67 percent to 30 percent, in 2012. John McCain won it, 56 percent to 40 percent, in 2008. And President George W. Bush won it, 66 percent to 31 percent, in 2004.

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Mountain Region

There are many wide-open spaces but few competitive races in the Rocky Mountain West. Even though the important contests are few, they could be good indicators of which party has the upper hand next fall.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Mountain region:

It’s Never Too Early to Fight About Polls

Matheson is a Democrat. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated July 25 at 2:26 PM |Bickering over polls is a time-honored tradition in campaigns. But the latest exchange of surveys in Utah’s 4th District is not just an example of partisan pollsters getting very different results. It is also a reminder of the importance of polling methodology.

Earlier this month, the National Republican Congressional Committee released an interactive voice response survey, conducted May 15-16 by a conservative outlet, Harper Polling. It showed Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, leading his GOP challenger, Mia Love, 44 percent to 41 percent.

Mia Love Announces Utah Rematch

Love is running for Congress again. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sarasota Springs Mayor Mia Love officially announced this weekend that she will challenge Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, again for the 4th District.

The Republican's announcement sets up a rematch of one of last cycle's most-targeted races. Matheson defeated Love by one of the slimmest vote margins of any House race in 2012.

Democratic House Majority Super PAC Releases Polls Showing Leads in Utah, Maryland

Rep. Jim Matheson (right) leads Mia Love in Utah's 4th district race, according to a poll released by the House Majority PAC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, released two polls this morning that indicate Democrats are well-positioned in high-profile races in Utah and Maryland.

In the tossup race for Utah's 4th, 51 percent of respondents said they would vote for Rep. Jim Matheson (D), while 33 percent supported Mia Love (R). In the Maryland 6th district survey, businessman John Delaney (D) had the support of 44 percent of those polled, while 42 percent said they would vote for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R). The difference is within the poll's margin of error.