7 Colorado Senate seats eyed by Republicans tend to lean left

Most competitive Senate races have shown preference for Democrats with some exceptions

By: - October 7, 2022 4:00 am
Colorado Senate

A view of the Colorado Senate at the Capitol on May 9, 2022. (Pema Baldwin for Colorado Newsline)

As Republicans look to take control of the Colorado Senate in the midterm elections, seven races will be important in deciding which party has the majority in this half of the state Legislature. 

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commission calculated how voters in each newly-drawn district lean politically based on a few recent elections. This gives a general idea of how the districts could vote in the future. Below are the findings of the commission’s analysis as well as the candidates looking to grab the Senate District’s seat. 

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Senate District 3

Senate District 3, which includes Pueblo, leans 5.1 percentage points in favor of Democrats based on recent elections. The only time that this district favored Republicans within the scope of the commission’s analysis was in the 2016 presidential election, and only by half a percentage point. 

Incumbent Nick Hinrichsen, a Democrat who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, is running to continue holding the District 3 seat against Republican challenger Stephen Varela.

Senate District 8

Senate District 8, which includes most northwest Colorado counties such as Garfield, Jackson, Eagle, Clear Creek and Gilpin, has a 6.6 percentage point advantage for Democrats. Voters in this district have not crossed the threshold to vote in favor of a Republican candidate in any of the elections considered by the commission. 

Dylan Roberts, a Democrat currently serving in the Colorado House representing District 26, will take on Republican Matt Solomon in the race to represent District 8. Incumbent Republican Bob Rankin was drawn out of the district in the 2020 redistricting process and will now represent Senate District 5 through the end of his term in 2024. 

Senate District 11

Senate District 11, which includes southeast Colorado Springs, leans 2.4 percentage points in favor of Democrats, but it favored the Republican candidate in both the 2016 presidential and U.S. Senate elections. 

Dennis Hisey, a Republican who currently holds the District 2 seat, was drawn out of his current district during redistricting. While his home in Fountain is now part of District 12, Sen. Bob Gardner holds that seat through 2024, and Hisey has faced allegations of falsely listing his residence at his son’s Colorado Springs home so he could run for the District 11 seat. 

Hisey will face Tony Exum, a Democrat who currently represents District 17 in the Colorado House, as well as Libertarian Daryl Kuiper for the District 11 seat. Incumbent Democrat Pete Lee, who faces a felony indictment for allegedly lying about his residence on voter records, was drawn out of District 11 during redistricting. 

Senate District 15

Senate District 15, which includes Larimer County and most of Boulder County, is considered dead center with no advantage for either party. The district voted red by narrow margins in both 2016 races, as well as in the 2018 attorney general and treasurer races. Voters went blue in the 2018 governor, secretary of state and CU regent-at-large elections, as well as the 2020 Senate race.

Incumbent Rob Woodward, a Republican, will face Democratic challenger Janice Marchman in the race to continue holding the seat. Larimer County’s League of Women Voters will hold a candidate forum for the Senate race on Oct. 12.

Senate District 20

Democrats have a 7.1 percentage point advantage in Senate District 20, which includes parts of northwestern Jefferson County. The district voted for Democrats in each of the elections considered by the Redistricting Commission. 

Lisa Cutter, a Democrat who currently represents District 25 in the Colorado House, is running for the seat against Republican Tim Walsh and Libertarian BetteRose Ryan. Incumbent Jessie Danielson, a Democrat, was drawn out of the district through redistricting and is now running to represent Senate District 22. 

Senate District 24

Senate District 24 also shows a preference for Democrats, who have a 9.1 percentage point advantage over Republicans. This district is part of Adams County, including parts of Thornton, Northglenn and Henderson. The district voted for Democrats in each of the elections considered by the Redistricting Commission. 

Kyle Mullica, a Democrat who currently represents District 34 in the Colorado House, is running for the seat against Republican Courtney Potter, who is a member of the Adams 12 Five Star Schools school board, as well as Libertarian Donald Osborn. Mullica was also accused of falsifying his residence for the sake of running in the election, but a judge shot this down. Incumbent Faith Winter was drawn out during redistricting and is now running to represent Senate District 25.

Senate District 27

Senate District 27, which is part of Arapahoe County, leans 4.7 percentage points in favor of Democrats and voted blue in each of the elections considered by the Redistricting Commission. 

Tom Sullivan, a Democrat who currently represents District 37 in the Colorado House, is running against Republican Tom Kim for the Senate District 27 seat. Incumbent Chris Kolker was drawn into Senate District 16 through redistricting and will represent this district through the end of his term in 2024. 

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Lindsey Toomer
Lindsey Toomer

Lindsey Toomer covers politics, social justice and other stories for Newsline. She formerly reported on city government at the Denver Gazette and on Colorado mountain town government, education and environment at the Summit Daily News. Toomer graduated from the Pennsylvania State University, where she also served as managing editor of The Daily Collegian, with degrees in journalism and global studies.

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