Parties agree on one thing: Colorado a major battleground for legislative races

In case you were wondering how important Colorado’s legislative races are, consider this:

Both the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) and GOPAC, a Republican committee, list it among their top two states in terms of the number of important contests.

But the races the two groups consider most important are quite different.

The DLCC on Thursday released its list of 60 key races across 34 states, and five Colorado races showed up on the docket. Maine was the only other state with five races listed.

GOPAC, meanwhile, has released a more condensed list of 40 key races across seven states so far. Colorado holds six places on that list; only North Carolina, with 10, has more.

Republicans now hold a 33-32 advantage in the Colorado House and Democrats maintain a 20-15 advantage in the state Senate.

Both parties have said they see Colorado as a bellwether state because of its swing voters and because its House leaders especially have grabbed national attention. Democrats hail Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino for his work in trying to push a civil-unions bill through the Legislature, and Republicans say House Speaker Frank McNulty has set examples on how to keep taxes and regulations low.

Interestingly, there is only one race both the DLCC and GOPAC agree is one of the most important to their sides taking or maintaining control of the chambers: The Senate District 26 contest in the south Denver suburbs that pits Democratic Sen. Linda Newell against Republican Dave Kerber. (A closer look at the business issues in that race will be in Friday’s print edition of the Denver Business Journal.)