2018 Midterms- The Mountain States About a Year Out

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This will be a fairly quick entry covering Colorado, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, Utah and Wyoming.


  • 7 districts- 4 Republican/ 3 Democratic
  • 1 open seat- Jared Polis (D-2nd) running for Governor
  • 2 declared Democrats and no Republicans in open 2nd
  • Incumbents facing primary challenges- 2 (1 Republican and 1 Democrat)
  • Incumbents facing opposition party challenges- 5 (4 Republicans and 1 Democrat)
  • Senate race- None this year

All Republicans have drawn Democratic opponents thus far with Doug Lamborn in the 5th likely to face a tough GOP primary against 2016 US Senate candidate Darryl Glenn.  And as they do every cycle, the Democrats will come with guns blazing against Mike Coffman in the 6th.  To date, four Democrats are in the mix with none of them considered all that formidable.  However, it is not a presidential year and Trump’s approval rating in Colorado is a poor 38%.  Coffman faced his toughest opponent in 2016 and won easily, so there is no reason to suspect otherwise in 2018.


  • 2 districts- both Republican
  • 1 open seat- 1st District where Raul Labrador (R) will run for Governor
  • 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats declared in open 1st district
  • Senate race- None this year

No fears of losing any seats here as any drama will be in the GOP primary in the 1st.


In the at-large Congressional race, punch happy Greg Gianforte will likely run again and has thus far drawn no primary challengers or Democratic opponents.  One wonders whether Democrats are so gung-ho for early voting after that loss!  Expect them to run someone against him in 2018.

Instead, the real interest in Montana will be the Senate seat held by Democratic incumbent Jon Tester.  Thus far, three Republicans have thrown their hats in the ring.  While Tester has a fairly decent approval rating in Montana, this state went for Trump in 2016 and he still enjoys a 53% approval rating.  In summary, this seat looks ripe for the picking.



Nothing to see here in the Congressional race.  GOP incumbent Kevin Cramer has yet to draw a primary opponent and the Democrats have no announced candidates thus far.

There is, however, a Senate race where Democrat Heidi Heitkamp is up for reelection.  Although no Republicans have announced their candidacy, she has drawn a primary opponent.  Still, with a 60% approval rating in a state that gives Trump a 59% approval rating, it would seem like a long shot for a GOP victory here.  They seem to like their Heitkamp.


The state’s lone at-large seat is being vacated by Republican Kristi Noem who announced her candidacy for Governor.  Once considered a rising star in the GOP in Washington, one guesses she likes her chances better in Pierre.  Two Republicans and two Democrats have announced their candidacy so there will be a competitive primary in both parties.  If a Noem-like candidate emerges for the GOP, they will easily keep this seat.

There is no Senate race in South Dakota in 2018.


  • 4 districts- all Republican
  • 1 open district in the 3rd with special election to be held this year to replace the retired Jason Chaffetz (R)
  • Incumbents facing primary challenger- 2 (of 3)
  • Incumbents facing opposition party challenger- 2 (of 3)
  • Senate race- Orrin Hatch (R)-  no primary challengers/ 3 declared Democrats

With Jason Chaffetz vacating the 3rd District, this is a very strong GOP district despite who wins the special election in 2017.  The remaining three districts are also held by Republicans.  For some reason, the Democrats believe that Mia Love in the 4th is vulnerable as four Democrats are in their primary thus far.  Do not expect any district in Utah to turn blue any time soon.


On the Senate side, Orrin Hatch, the Republican incumbent, faces reelection and an uncontested path to the nomination.  Three Democrats so far are vying for the right to lose to him in 2018.


Liz Cheney, the incumbent at-large Representative and John Barrasso, the incumbent US Senator currently face no announced primary opponents or Democratic general election opponents.

Next: The Southwest


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