Though El Paso County has close to two registered Republicans for every Democrat, the numbers look up for Dems in some parts of the county. Take House District 18, for instance, which covers a swath of central Colorado Springs leading west through Manitou Springs: The numbers worked out there for Michael Merrifield, a Democrat, to win four terms in the state House. Merrifield is now trying to keep his political career going by grabbing a seat on the Board of County Commissioners representing District 5, a competitive area covering northern and central Colorado Springs.
The natural flipside, however, is that in other parts of the county, Democrats face odds even tougher than 2 to 1. Which is why it's a surprise hearing Democrat Steve Kjonaas talk about his prospects as he runs for County Commission District 1, which starts around Chapel Hills Mall and leads north.
"It's absolutely about winning," the retired Air Force firefighter says. (You can find the beginnings of a Web site for Kjonaas here.)
That could be tough, given a Republican-to-Democrat ratio in that district of more than 3-to-1 (44,798 Republicans to 12,682 Democrats). His likely opponent will be City Councilor Darryl Glenn, who enjoys a solid base of support in the GOP.