Competitive Capitol Races Churn Beneath Spotlight Of Governor’s Race, Ballot Measures

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Photo: Jessie Danielson and Christine Jensen State Senate Race Mailers
A collection of mailers sent to one household for the state Senate District 20 race between Jessie Danielson and Christine Jensen.

Dueling ballot measures and a high-profile governor's race may dominate voter attentions, but there's another huge political move at play in the 2018 election: Control of the state Senate.

Republicans control the Senate chambers at the State Capitol now. But it's a narrow majority, just one seat.

A handful of Senate seats are up for grabs this year, and since the House is expected to stay in Democratic control and Democratic Congressman Jared Polis is leading in early polls for the Governor’s race, Colorado Democrats could score a so-called trifecta—control of the state Senate, House and governor's office.

The last time Democrats held a trifecta was after the 2012 election, when the party notably passed a package of gun control laws.

CPR reporters Bente Birkeland and Ben Markus talked to Colorado Matters about the money pouring into the most competitive state Senate races.

Democrats traditionally have the fundraising edge in Colorado. While oil and gas groups have poured money into state-level races to boost Republican candidates, their Democratic competitors have out-raised them. State Rep. Faith Winter has a 4-to-1 lead in her race to unseat state Sen. Martinez Humenik, for example.

Super PACs alone have thrown more than $10 million into the fray, breaking previous records.