Colorado 7th District
The inner circle of suburbs around Denver was developed between the 1950s and 1970s. West of Denver, on broad avenues running toward the mountains, is Lakewood, where growth was sparked by the Denver Federal Center. The suburbs are affluent in the south, more marginal near the Denver city limits. Out to the west is the town of Golden, with the old Colorado School of Mines and the Coors brewery. To the north are Arvada (which is shared with the 2d District) and Wheat Ridge, middle-income suburbs with an increasing number of Latinos. On the other side of Denver, to the east of the now-closed Stapleton Airport, is Aurora, as vast as Lakewood and somewhat newer, with its huge regional mall and an increasing number of middle-class African-Americans. East of Aurora are rolling, empty plains that stretch to the Kansas state line.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 7th Congressional District of Colorado, newly created for the 2002 election, covers parts of three counties and most of the inner Denver suburbs. The bulk of its land area, but only 15% of its voters, are in Adams County, which includes the industrial zone along the South Platte River and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Adams County has long been the most Democratic of the suburban Denver counties, but its political future cannot be predicted. It is beginning to fill up with new subdivisions. Aurora, partly in Adams County with a larger part in Arapahoe County, has long been Republican. But with more black and Latino residents, it has been trending Democratic. Lakewood is the largest city in the district, and with the other towns in Jefferson County (or Jeffco, as people call it), it is perhaps Colorado’s premier political battleground. Denver’s new light-rail line extends to Lakewood, which is sparking more growth in technology. Long solidly Republican, Lakewood is now more marginal. And it is crucial here: Jeffco has 62% of the 7th District’s voters. The judge who handed down the redistricting plan deliberately chose to make the 7th evenly divided between the parties, and so it has been. In the 2002 House election, this was the most closely divided district in the nation.