Despite Republican efforts to make Colorado's 7th Congressional District more GOP friendly, the district appears to headed for another closely fought campaign like two years ago when Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez beat his Democratic opponent by a mere 121 votes out of 173,000 cast.
Beauprez was the first congressman to represent the district after it was created in 2002 for the mid-term election. It includes parts of three Colorado counties including Jefferson, Arapahoe and Adams.
About 614, 465 people live in the district which was once an agricultural and mining region. Most of the regions voters are white collar workers of German, Irish and English ancestry. A small percentage of blacks and Asians make up much of the rest of the population.
The judge who ruled on the 2002 redistricting plan to create the district evenly divided it among the Republican and Democratic parties, according to the National Journal's Almanac of American Politics. The change did little to influence how voters picked their candidates between the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, however. In 2000, Al Gore won the district 50 percent to George W. Bush's 49 percent. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won 51 percent to President Bush's 48 percent in 2004.
Jefferson County, nicknamed Jeffco, with 62 percent of the district's voters, is the most politically divided of 7th District's counties. Residents of the county have mostly voted Republican but in recent elections have been trending toward the center.
Similarly, the city of Aurora in Adams County, which is home to only 15 percent of the district's voters and has historically voted Republican, has seen an influx of black and Latino residents, trending the county more Democratic.
In 2003, the Republican Party tried to create a redistricting plan that would have slanted the district more Republican. Sen. Ken Salazar, Colorado's attorney general at the time, challenged the plan and the state Supreme Court ruled the plan was in violation of the state constitution.