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Miklosi, Coors trending up in races for Congress

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DENVER – Two Joes are putting pressure on two incumbent Colorado congressman, who have seen their reelection chances downgraded somewhat by Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia professor who sizes up political races across the country with his “Crystal Ball.”

On Thursday, Sabato revised his rankings and noted very little movement in most races for Congress — he’s projecting that Democrats win just four seats in November.

But, in Colorado, two races are in flux.

The battle for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, which had long been a safe GOP seat until redistricting made it far more favorable for Democrats, moved from “leans Republican” to a “toss up” in Sabato’s analysis.

That’s not because of Joe Miklosi’s message — most voters don’t even know who he is yet — or his new television ad; and it’s likely not due to Congressman Mike Coffman’s controversial comment a few months ago when he questioned whether President Obama is “truly an American in his heart”.

It’s all about the numbers.

Coffman, Sabato writes, “saw his district become much more Democratic in redistricting, and he [sic] will try to hold on in unfavorable territory; Coffman’s district is a better target than that of Rep. Scott Tipton (R, CO-3), so we’re distinguishing the two by listing Coffman as a toss-up.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter is still a safe bet for reelection — but maybe not as safe as he’s been.

Sabato has moved Perlmutter’s race to keep his seat in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District from “Strong Democratic” to “Leans Democratic”, a signal that narrowing poll numbers and Republican Joe Coors’ ability to self fund much of his campaign is tightehing this race somewhat.

“National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Guy Harrison’s pet project this cycle seems to be defeating Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who is facing Republican Joe Coors (brother Pete lost a Senate race to Democrat Ken Salazar in 2004),” Sabato writes.

“Coors, a member of the brewing family, has tons of money to spend, and Democrats were sufficiently spooked that the House Majority PAC, a SuperPAC that supports Democratic House campaigns, spent $500,000 there on ads, as has labor. Perlmutter remains a heavy favorite, but the race belongs on the list of competitive contests.”