Hispanics Could Be Key in Colo. Senate Race

Political candidates in Colorado have made a high priority of appealing to Hispanic voters, who account for 17 percent of residents in the Centennial State, according to the 2000 Census.

Democrats are pinning their hopes on Ken Salazar (search), who is campaigning to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (search).

Recent polls show Salazar, the state attorney general, just one point ahead of his challenger, businessman Peter Coors (search).

"We're very focused here in Colorado in making sure we keep this seat as a Republican seat and that I'm, I'm going to be sitting in it," Coors said.

Keeping the Colorado seat would go a long way toward preserving the slim majority Republicans hold in the U.S. Senate.

Hispanics have traditionally voted Democratic, and turnout among that demographic group has been low in the past. But if they manage a large turnout for Salazar, they could put the first Hispanic in the U.S. Senate in 30 years.

"I think our political power is greater than it has ever been in the United States and the only way that we can show that power is to get out and vote," said teacher Linda Sanchez.

Though President Bush (search) is leading in polls in Colorado, Democrats believe a larger-than-expected Hispanic turnout could also tilt the state's presidential vote in favor of John Kerry (search).

Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Alicia Acuna.