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Mark Udall

Obama conquered the West for Democrats, but now it's back in play

When President Obama claimed the Democratic nomination en route to the White House, he planted his party flag in this Rocky Mountain capital, vowing to end Washington's dysfunction and find elusive consensus around issues such as immigration, guns and abortion. Running as a different breed of Democrat — one more pragmatic and sensitive to the unbridled ethos of the region — Obama captured several Western states that the Republicans had won four years earlier, and came surprisingly close in two others. Afterward, there was heady talk among Democrats of making the Mountain West a reliable part of their presidential base, safely tucking Colorado and Nevada alongside the...