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Is CO-4 in Play for the Dems?

Colorado's fourth congressional district is not the kind of seat Republicans can afford to see seriously in play after Labor Day if they hope to retain control of the House of Representatives in next year's Congress. The district is reliably Republican: President Bush carried it in 2004 with 58% of the vote. Yet a newly released poll by SurveyUSA for KUSA-TV in Denver gives the incumbent Republican, Marilyn Musgrave, a small four-point lead, 46% to 42%. A Democratic poll done by Strategic Services in June pegged Rep. Musgrave's lead at a mere point.

More troubling for Ms. Musgrave is the 8% going to Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness. Colorado was one of Ross Perot's best states in his third-party bids for President in the 1990s, and Mr. Eidsness is a legitimate threat to garner 5%, or more, of the vote in November. The SurveyUSA results indicate Mr. Eidsness siphoning 7% of Republican voters versus only 2% from Democrats.

Most analysts still rate this contest as "Republican favored" but there are early warning signs that Ms. Musgrave may be in a dogfight to hold on to her seat, especially given that her winning percentage of the vote in 2004 declined to 51% from the 55% she captured in 2002.

While the Reform Party candidate aspect mitigates some of the national implications of this race, it is another piece of evidence suggesting that Democrats are indeed well positioned to potentially pick up the 15 seats they need to capture the House.