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Colorado Primary Drama

A large percentage of The Rocky Mountain State has already voted, but will have to wait until this evening for the results. According to Colorado's Secretary of State's office, nearly 60-percent of registered voters will do so by mail-in ballot, and record 'turnout' is expected.  Ballots went out July 19th and what they have to say about where Colorado's notoriously independent electorate stands, will start to trickle in at 7:00 pm MT/9:00 pm ET.

At stake for the Obama Administration: A U.S. Senate seat held by an incumbent having trouble inspiring his own party faithful to rally around him, instead of the fellow Democratic insurgent. 

Senator Michael Bennet is in a statistical tie, according to the latest Denver Post poll, with former Colorado State Senate Speaker, Andrew Romanoff, who is leading by three percentage points, which is within the margin of error.

It's a feat Romanoff has managed, even though for much of the primary race, he trailed in both polls and money.  Romanoff's been credited by political watchers for having a stronger ground game in this race and a much stronger connection with caucus goers and delegates to the state nominating assembly earlier this year.  Romanoff cleaned house on both caucus night and at the assembly, but was struggling with the larger Democratic base, until recently, when he launched a series of negative campaigns against his opponent. 

Former President Bill Clinton has also lent his voice and support to Romanoff, in the final hours of the campaign. On Monday, registered voters began receiving robo-calls from Mr. Clinton urging folks to vote for Romanoff, saying, in part, that the candidate has, "proven himself to be one of the most effective legislative leaders in the entire country. And I think he's got the best chance to hold this seat in November."

After selling his home and emptying out some savings, Romanoff lent his campaign $325,000 in order to make it to Primary Day. 

Bennet, on the other hand, has been praised as a money-raising war horse. In Colorado Senate Primary terms, Bennet's jaw-dropping $7.5 million dollar has broken records in this state.  In addition to the cash, Bennet has had the full backing of President Obama, who not only can be heard in robo-calls around the state, but made a personal appearance in endorsing this Senator.

Even so, Bennet wakes up this morning in a neck and neck race. 

Nevermind that both Bennet and Romanoff currently trail both GOP hopefuls in potential match-ups for November's general election. 

On the GOP side, the two candidates are furiously attempting to "out-conservative" the other.

Over the weekend, Republican Jane Norton was joined by Arizona Senator John McCain (R) in hitting campaign rallies. Senator McCain, in a primary in his own home state, denied to audiences that he urged Norton to run, but when asked by the former Colorado Lt Governor what he thought, he said she "Absolutely" should.

Norton is not only in a battle within her own party, but trying to separate herself from the 'Washington Insider' moniker Buck's managed to pin on her lapel. She has also received the backing of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign and an endorsement from Jim Gilchrist, the Founder and President of the Minuteman Project, a grassroots activist organization pressing for immigration reform and amped up border security.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, a favorite with the Tea Partiers, is being endorsed by South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint and Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund.

The two candidates have poked not-so-innocent fun at the other's gender in a series of ads, as well as caught-on-tape moments during the campaign.

In one ad, Norton looks straight into the camera and asks if Ken Buck is "man enough" to run his own attacks ads.  Later, while Buck is speaking at an event, he tells an audience member she should vote for him because he, "doesn't wear high heels".  In turn, Norton releases yet another ad with a giant pink high heel with the words "The Buck Stops Here" to go along.

Buck leads Norton, according to the latest poll, by nine points.

The other big race in the state is the GOP Gubernatorial primary.

Current Governor Bill Ritter, a Democrat, is retiring after one term.  Republicans here, were hoping to join the anti-incumbent, anti-democrat fervor running through other parts of the country.  And it looked like it might happen, until a wild card was played.

Republicans Scott McInnis and Dan Maes both held double digit leads over a potential match-up with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the unopposed Democrat.  That is, until about a month and a half ago when things started to unravel in both camps.

McInnis just announced that he will pay back the $300,000 he was paid by a private foundation to write about water issues.  The payback comes after allegations he lifted much of the writings and then later accusing his 82-year-old assistant for the purported plagiarism.

Maes, isn't in much better shape.  In June, the former businessman paid tens of thousands of dollars for violating campaign finance laws.

Headlines on both men, send their poll numbers south.

In walks the wild card.  Just two weeks before primary day, Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman and lightening rod for illegal immigration issues, announces that he too is running for governor.  Only Tancredo is running as a third party candidate for the American Constitution Party.  Saying that both McInnis and Maes are letting conservatives down, Tancredo is running unopposed in his new party and therefore advances to the general election.

Colorado's Republican Party chair, Dick Wadhams, upon hearing of Tancredo's plans, tells Fox News that Tancredo, by dividing the conservative vote, come November, has all but handed the governorship to Democrat Hickelooper "on a plate".

When asked about dividing the conservative base, Tancredo says he is not loyal to a party, he is loyal to the people.

The people speak today. What they have to say, we'll let you know tonight.

Alicia Acuna joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1997 and currently serves as a general assignment reporter based in the network's Denver bureau.

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