Incumbent: Gov. Bill Ritter (D) is retiring
Democrat: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper
Republican: Businessman Dan Maes
Independent: Former GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo
2008 Presidential Result: Obama 54%; McCain 45%
55+ Population (2009 estimate): 22%
Overview: Dan Maes upset former Rep. Scott McInnis, who was charged with plagiarizing portions of articles he wrote for a foundation. That sets up a real donnybrook in the general election. Complicating matters is the fact that former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo, a staunch conservative on immigration issues, is running as a third party candidate and could scramble the results. Environmental issues are important in this state that prides itself on green technology and clean air. John Hickenlooper got his start in the restaurant business in Colorado as co-owner of a microbrewery.
50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.
Fun Fact: Maes compared the $17,000 he had to pay in fines for campaign finance violations to "parking tickets."
'Wild Card' Issue: Health care. Hickenlooper supports the Obama health care reform, with some reservations; the Republicans oppose it.
Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future