Election 2018NewsTop Story

Election Preview 2018 | CoPo’s special report

Authors: Vince Bzdek, Mark Harden - November 2, 2018 - Updated: November 2, 2018

A voter drops off a ballot Oct. 28, 2018, at an Arapahoe County dropoff box in Centennial. (Mark Harden / Colorado Politics)

With Election Day just days away, Colorado Politics brings you our special Election Preview. Joey Bunch, Marianne Goodland, Ernest Luning and Conrad Swanson take you inside the key races and issues on the November ballot.

(See the links below to access our special report.)

These stories are for paid Colorado Politics subscribers only. (Not a subscriber yet? Click here to join us.)

It’s a crucial election, both in Colorado and nationally, for shaping the politics and character of government. The state will have a new governor, a new attorney general and a new state treasurer after the voting is over Nov. 6, and control of the state General Assembly is at stake.

Facing off in the governor’s race are two men with roots in business and sharply contrasting views on how to make Colorado better. Democrat Jared Polis, Boulder’s congressman, has offered a wide range of proposals for new programs in health, education and energy, while at times being vague about how he would finance his plans. And that’s been the main theme of Republican Walker Stapleton, the state treasurer, who attacks Polis’ agenda as “radical and extreme” while he emphasizes fiscal responsibility, cutting regulations and standing up for oil and gas and gun rights.

As for ballot measures, Colorado has plenty on the statewide ballot — 13 to be exact.

Among the key proposals are dueling measures to pump more money into fixing Colorado transportation — one involving new taxes, the other squeezing money from existing funds. There’s also a pair of constitutional amendments to reshape how Colorado draws up its congressional and legislative district boundaries. Another measure would tax the wealthy and raise the corporate rate to pump more money into schools. Yet another proposal would reshape campaign finance rules in cases where rich candidates contribute millions to their own campaigns.

And perhaps the most controversial measures: One that would ban oil and gas development within almost half a mile of homes and schools, and another that some see as a “poison pill” that would make government pay property owners if regulations — for example, on oil and gas development — reduce the value of their holdings.

Under the golden dome of the state Capitol, where Republicans have a narrow majority in the state Senate, the election will determine whether the GOP can keep its tenuous hold on the chamber or whether Democrats — who already enjoy a comfortable lead in the House — can wrest away control.

Nationally, control of Congress is at stake. Right now, Republicans hold both the U.S. House and Senate, but that balance of power could change, with some pundits predicting a “blue wave” that could put one or both houses of Congress in Democrats’ hands. Others see the recent ugly fight over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court as energizing Republicans.

Colorado’s election results are being watched nationwide. We’re a swing state, made up of roughly a third Republicans, a third Democrats and a third Independents, so our votes for members of Congress could play a key role in swinging the balance in the House one way or another. In particular, pollsters and pundits see a real chance that Democrat Jason Crow could capture the suburban 6th Congressional District seat from Republican incumbent Mike Coffman. But Coffman has proven over the years to be a wily campaigner, dashing the hopes of Democrats who thought they had a good shot.

So there’s a lot to decide on this year’s general-election ballot, which will arrive in Colorado homes over the next several days. Colorado Politics has been covering election races and issues for many months, and we’ll continue to keep you informed in the weeks ahead online at ColoradoPolitics.com and in print. Coming soon: Our look at energy policy issues at stake in the election, and advice for our next governor from some of the state’s wisest and most prominent leaders.

And on election night, turn to ColoradoPolitics.com and our sister news outlet, The Gazette of Colorado Springs, for live coverage of the results as they pour in. We’ll also dig into what the election means in our Nov. 9 print edition.

Colorado Politics election preview


> Governor’s race comes down to money, message and momentum

> Colorado governor candidates on the issues

> Q&A’s with the Colo. governor candidates

> State Debate | Stapleton, Polis, other statewide candidates clash at CoPo-Gazette event


> Voters to choose new attorney general, treasurer

> Q&A’s with the Colo. attorney general candidates

> Q&A’s with the Colo. treasurer candidates

> Q&A’s with the Colo. secretary of state candidates


> A baker’s dozen measures on Colo. ballot


> Control of Colo. Senate hinges on a handful of races


> In Colo.’s congressional races, 2 districts are key battlegrounds


> Issues that pack a punch with Colorado voters


> INSIGHTS | Democrats should be careful what they wish for

> Q&A with Debra Johnson, Denver elections chief

> Who’s on the ballot?

> Key dates before and after the election

> No blue book? Here’s how to get one

Vince Bzdek

Vince Bzdek

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.