Legislative leader predicts big Democratic gains in Colo . | VailDaily.com

Legislative leader predicts big Democratic gains in Colo .

Ed Sealover
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” The momentum swirling around the Democratic National Convention will continue into November, when Democrats will pick up four seats in the Colorado House of Representatives, Assistant Majority Leader Terrance Carroll said Tuesday.

Carroll, D-Denver, made the bold prediction at the daily breakfast for the Colorado DNC delegation. Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Snowmass Village Democrat who also spoke at the gathering, lauded Democrats who will hold open seats but did not make any similar pick-up predictions.

Asked later for specifics, Carroll, who is a DNC delegate, cited five seats now held by Republicans that Democrats will take. Those include suburban districts now represented by Assistant Minority Leader David Balmer and Rep. Spencer Swalm and open seats in El Paso County (being vacated by Rep. Stella Garza-Hicks), Jefferson County (Rob Witwer) and, most surprisingly, retiring Rep. Victor Mitchell’s heavily Repubican district in Douglas and Teller counties.

“Clearly, the independents and moderate Republicans have a greater affinity for our message than they do for the Colorado Republicans’ message,” Carroll said afterward.

He admitted, however, that it would be tough to hold an Aurora-area seat now held by Democratic Rep. Debbie Stafford. Stafford was a Republican who switched parties last year, and her district leans heavily Republican.

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams scoffed when told of Carroll’s predictions. Wadhams said that Republicans actually expect to take back about five seats that they used to hold this fall and then win back the majorities in both the House and the Senate in the 2010 election.

“This was another example of how cocky and arrogant Democrats have gotten in Colorado,” Wadhams said, referring to the party that holds a 15-vote majority in the House and a five-vote majority in the Senate. “We will narrow the Democratic majority substantially in Colorado.”

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