Democrats have “slight advantage” in Colorado governor’s race, FiveThirtyEight says

Two of the three forecasters said Colorado is a “lean Democratic” race. (That’s as opposed to “likely Democratic” for Oregon, or “wow, so Democratic,” basically, for California.)
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Morning sunlight gleams through the Capitol building, Dec. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; gold dome; capitol building; capitol hill; cowx; weather; sunny;

Morning sunlight gleams through the Capitol building, Dec. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This year, Republicans have 10 chances to pick up governors' seats currently held by Democrats and independents. Colorado's one of them, and the fact that Gov. John Hickenlooper can't run again may open the door a bit wider.

A new analysis by FiveThirtyEight, based on the predictions of three nonpartisan election forecasters, finds that Democrats have a "slight advantage" in Colorado's gubernatorial election this year.

Two of the three forecasters said Colorado is a "lean Democratic" race. (That's as opposed to "likely Democratic" for Oregon, or "wow, so Democratic," basically, for California.)

The third forecaster, Larry J. Sabato, said that Colorado is a "toss up." These analysts' guesses are based on voter counts, assessments of the candidates in play and some early polling results.

For context, Democrats have mostly won these gubernatorial races in Colorado since the 1970s. Hickenlooper won by 3.3 percentage points in 2014 -- solid but not overwhelming.

It's still quite early in the game. We can't say with much certainty which candidates either side will pick, especially since potential frontrunner Tom Tancredo quit the GOP race.

"Polls haven’t yet given us a clue how a Republican less divisive than Tancredo might fare in the general election, but given that Democrats have won three straight presidential and three straight gubernatorial contests in Colorado, the blue team likely has a slight advantage," writes Nathaniel Rakich.

State of the nation:

Republicans waged an effective campaign to take over state governments during the Obama years. Nationwide, they now control 33 governorships, while Democrats control 16; Alaska has an independent.

Some of these analysts, however, think 2018 could be a favorable year for Democrats in the statehouses.

The Cook Political Report, for example, shows Republicans have more to lose. Cook lists three current GOP seats as leaning Republican, five as toss-ups and one (New Mexico) as leaning Democratic -- a total of eight in serious play.

In comparison, the Democrats have two "leaning Democratic" and three toss-ups in the Cook report -- a total of five.

What's next?

In Colorado, the caucuses happen in March. These odd little events help determine which candidates will make it onto the primary ballot. The parties' state assemblies in April also determine who's on the primary ballot.

The primaries happen on June 26.

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