Democrats are pushing to turn the Senate blue this November, needing just four more seats to gain control of the chamber. Two key races are in the Mountain West.
"The Democrats have a decent chance to pick up control of the Senate and that could very well could hinge on what happens in Colorado and Montana," said Robert Saldine, a political science professor at the University of Montana.
In Colorado, former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. In Montana, current Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock seeks to oust Republican Sen. Steve Daines. Gardner and Daines are staunch supporters of President Trump. Both races are currently considered toss-ups by the Cook Political Report.
Saldine sees Hickenlooper and Bullock, both moderates, as separating themselves from the more progressive Democratic leadership in Washington, D.C.
"It's a play that I think has a better chance of working in the Mountain West than it does elsewhere, just because of the number of Democrats and the number of Republicans in each state," he said.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.