Colorado's status quo holds firm

  • Colorado

    Diane Sylvain

Note: This article is a sidebar to a feature story.

Other than the showdown between Strickland and Allard, most of Colorado's congressional races are all but over, according to most analysts. The 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Pat Schroeder will likely remain in the hands of a liberal Democrat and a woman - former state legislator Diane Degette. And the 4th District seat, which Allard is leaving, will probably stay in the hands of a conservative male Republican, state Sen. Bob Schaffer. The incumbents for the four other House seats also seem solid.

Environmentalists are working hard to make the environment an important issue at all levels of government. Sierra Club billboard ads pushing the group's voter guide depict sprawling Front Range subdivisions and the question, "Are we becoming L.A.?"

"Voters are worried that too many people are moving to Colorado," says Carmi McLean, director of Denver-based Clean Water Action. "But they're more worried about congestion and their commute than they are about pollution."

Will those concerns help Democrats gain ground on Republican majorities in both state houses? Probably not, says McLean, since most voters at the state level base their decision on personal knowledge of the candidates rather than larger environmental issues.

That could mean another onslaught of takings bills. During last year's state legislative session, environmentalists and a handful of lawmakers worked with the governor to hold off 10 different takings bills. The most stalwart of those lawmakers, state Sen. Linda Powers, D, faces a stiff challenge from Republican Ken Chlouber for her 4th District seat in western Colorado.

U.S. SENATE: Wayne Allard (R) vs. Tom Strickland (D). U.S. HOUSE: 1st District - Joe Rogers (R) vs. Diana DeGette (D); 2nd District - Pat Miller (R) vs. David Skaggs (D-incumb.); 3rd District - Scott McInnis (R-incumb.) vs. Al Gurule (D); 4th District - Bob Schaffer (R) vs. Guy Kelley (D); 5th District,- Joel Hefley (R-incumb.) vs. Mike Robinson (D); 6th District - Dan Schaefer (R-incumb.) vs. Joan Fitz-gerald (D).

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