GOPAC’s Top Races to Watch: Colorado State Senate & House

As President Obama and Governor Romney prepare to go head-to-head in tonight’s presidential debate in Denver, Colorado, GOPAC’s Top Races to Watch takes a look at the Colorado State Senate and House of Representatives where state legislative victories will be determined largely in the same swing counties and districts that will help decide this year’s presidential race – namely, Jefferson and Arapahoe Counties.

In the State Senate, Republicans are led by Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman as they look to upend the current 20-15 Democratic majority in the chamber. With six targeted seats in play, an aggressive ground game, and a GOP message in sync with voters concerns on the economy, Republicans are competing hard this year to win control of the Senate. Several Senate Democratic incumbents won by narrow margins in 2008 – one of the most popular years for Democrats in recent history. Given the Left’s failures to turn around Colorado’s economy, Republicans are primed to win victories against these vulnerable Democrats by supporting real solutions to create jobs.

In the Colorado State House, Republicans have held a narrow 33-32 majority since 2010 when they picked up six seats and ended six years of Democrat House majorities. This year, led by Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, the GOP is targeting ten competitive seats as they fight to boost the Republican majority and Democrats fight to take it back.

Here is a look at GOPAC’s Top 6 Races to Watch in the Colorado State Senate and House of Representatives with just under five weeks to go before Election Day:

Senate District 19: Lang Sias (R) vs Senator Evie Hudak (D)

  • Senate District 19: Jefferson County
  • Voter make-up: Lean Republican
  • GOP pick-up opportunity

A former Top Gun instructor and decorated combat veteran, Republican Lang Sias is running in the 19th Senate District this year against Democratic incumbent Senator Evie Hudak.

In 2008, despite the Obama landslide, Hudak narrowly edged out her Republican opponent to win this senate seat. With a strong understanding of business needed to turn Colorado’s economy around, Lang Sias has an opportunity to unseat Hudak and increase Republican’s chances for a majority in the Senate.

Lang Sias has been endorsed by several top business groups in Colorado, including the State Chamber, Colorado Concern, North Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business. Lang Sias has also been endorsed by the state’s leading education reform organization, Stand For Children, for his support of strong public schools.

In his own words, “Like many of you, I am deeply concerned about our state’s financial future and the opportunities that will be available to our children. I’d like to use the experience acquired throughout a 26-year military career as a Navy fighter pilot and in the Air National Guard, and as a lawyer helping small businesses, to help bring prosperity to Colorado families and businesses.”

Support Lang Sias for Senate.

Senate District 22: Rep. Ken Summers (R) vs Andrew Kerr (D)

  • Senate District 22: Jefferson County
  • Voter make-up: Lean Republican
  • Newly drawn open seat

Republican Representative Ken Summers, first elected to serve the State House in 2006, is running for the State Senate seat in the newly-drawn 22nd District against Democrat Andrew Kerr.

Ken Summers is running to keep taxes low, ensure quality education for students, decrease regulation to attract business to the state, and achieve health care reform that lowers costs while increasing choice for the citizens of Colorado.

Having served as the Chair of the Health and Environment Committee and on the Education Committee during his tenure in the House, Summers is committed to “principles that promote healthy communities, strong families & individual success.” In addition to his work in the Legislature, Summers serves his community as the Executive Director of Teen Challenge of the Rocky Mountains, a faith-based drug and alcohol recovery program.

Summers is a proven leader in fighting for pro-jobs legislation. He has been recognized by the Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Association for Commerce and Industry for his support for small business.

Support Ken Summers for Senate.

Senate District 26: Dave Kerber (R) vs Senator Linda Newell (D)

  • Senate District 26: Arapahoe County
  • Voter make-up: Lean Republican
  • GOP pick-up opportunity

Republicans are fighting to unseat yet another Democratic incumbent as Republican Dave Kerber challenges Democratic Senator Linda Newell in Senate District 26.

Newell is another vulnerable Democrat who won by less than 200 votes in 2008 despite it being a landslide year for Democrats across the country.

Dave Kerber is a small business owner who understands that Colorado needs to remove burdensome regulations in order to empower small business. He has been endorsed by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI), the State Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, Colorado Home Builders and more.

As Kerber explains, “There are those who say that Colorado’s best days have passed and that we are living in an era of limits. I do not believe that….We won’t accept a Colorado of limits but instead will insist on an era where hard work and determination still matter and our children and grandchildren can achieve anything they set their minds to.”

Support Dave Kerber for Senate.

House District 29: Rep. Robert Ramirez (R) vs Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D)

  • House District 29: Jefferson County
  • Voter make-up: Lean Democratic
  • Defending GOP seat

Republican State Representative Robert Ramirez is running for re-election this year in House District 29 against Democratic lobbyist Tracy Kraft-Tharp. In 2010, this was an extremely close race that gave Republicans majority control of the State House. GOPAC was honored to help play a role in electing Ramirez to victory.

A member of both the Education and Transportation Committees, Robert Ramirez is dedicated to creating more jobs for Colorado and balancing the state budget by eliminating job-killing regulations, incentivizing businesses to move to Colorado and creating an environment for businesses to grow and hire more workers.

While in office, Representative Ramirez decreased the size of state government by reducing the number of state employees in Colorado. On the other hand, Ramirez’s opponent, Democratic lobbyist Kraft-Tharp, worked to end the 6% spending cap in the state that kept politicians from wasting taxpayer money. Her support for big government would drive jobs out of Colorado and explode the state budget.

Robert Ramirez stands for less spending and more jobs. His re-election would help defend the Republican majority in the House, and turn Colorado’s economy around.

Support Representative Robert Ramirez.

House District 33: David Pigott (R) vs Dianne Primavera (D)

  • House District 33: Broomfield and Boulder Counties
  • Voter make-up: Lean Republican
  • Open Seat, defend GOP

Republican David Pigott, a U.S. Army veteran and Colorado attorney, is running against Democrat Dianne Primavera in the 33rd House District to replace Republican Rep. Donald Beezley who is not running for re-election.

Endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, David Pigott is running to cut taxes, cut spending, balance the state’s budget, eliminate job-killing regulations, and ensure Colorado’s schools have the resources necessary for students to compete in the 21st century.

While serving in the State House from 2006-2010, before losing to Republican Donald Beezley, Dianne Primavera consistently voted to raise taxes, including a $3.8 billion property tax increase. She also voted against important measures to reform education in Colorado. Primavera supports pay raises for bureaucrats and lifting the 6% cap on government spending in Colorado.

A victory for Republican David Pigott will help defend the GOP majority in the State House.

Support David Pigott for State Representative.

House District 40: Rep. Cindy Acree (R) vs John Buckner (D)

  • House District 40: Arapahoe County
  • Voter make-up: Lean Democratic
  • Defending GOP seat

Cindy Acree is a Republican State Representative in the 40th House District. First elected in 2008, she is running for reelection this November against Democrat John Buckner.

As Vice Chair of the Health and Environment Committee and former Board Chairman of the Colorado Neurological Institute, Rep. Cindy Acree is a proven leader on the issue of health care and also leads the state on Medicaid reform.

During her time in office, she has supported legislation that eliminated unnecessary government positions in addition to voting for increased funding for schools. Committed to job creation, Rep. Acree also worked with Democrats on legislation to peel back regulations on small businesses in the state to allow them freedom to expand and hire more workers.

Democrat John Buckner supports higher taxes and government-run health care. The exact opposite of the proven solutions that are needed to help turn Colorado’s economy around.

Support Representative Cindy Acree.