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Senate District 20 Race Racking Up Millions: 'Toughest Race In The State'

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - The balance of power in Colorado's Senate may come down to one race between two women in Jefferson County. Right now, Democrats control the State House and Republicans have a one-seat majority in the Senate.

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Christine Jensen (left) and Jessie Danielson (right)(credit: CBS)

"We always knew it would be the toughest race in the state," said Democratic candidate Jessie Danielson.

She's running against Republican Christine Jensen for an open seat in Senate District 20. It could determine whether Democrats hold the reigns of both chambers or if Republicans continue to serve as a check on their power.

"It's been frustrating to see really important measures get defeated on a party line vote in the Republican-controlled Senate," said Danielson.

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Jessie Danielson (credit: CBS)

Jensen agrees, a lot is at stake.

"When one party controls both chambers then that party can run away with the messaging, and I think that would be detrimental for Colorado, and that's not a fight I'm willing to give up."

Jensen is a small business owner. Danielson is a State Representative. Their race is the most expensive legislative race in recent history. According to our election partner, The Colorado Sun, $1.4 million has gone into TV ads alone.

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Christine Jensen (credit: CBS)

"I think it underscores the importance why this race in particular is so critical right now for Colorado and our future," Jensen said.

From how state dollars are spent to how businesses are regulated, gun regulations to school choice; much hinges on the outcome of the election.

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(credit: CBS)

"Everything that we care about is on the line in this race," said Danielson.

With gridlock in Congress, Jensen says, the state legislature is where most of the changes that impact our everyday lives happen.

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(credit: CBS)

"This really is where the rubber meets road, right here in the state legislature."

Republicans are up against tough odds this year. The National Conference of State Legislatures says the party of the president loses around 400 state legislative seats on average in midterm elections.

The other State Senate race that is a toss-up is in Adams County where Republican incumbent Beth Martinez Humenik is taking on Democratic State Representative Faith Winter.

Nationwide, the number of female candidates has jumped nearly 30 percent since 2016.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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