Monday, Aug. 18, 2008 | 2:59 p.m.
In case you haven't heard, the West is changing -- in favor of the Democratic Party.
The region's elected leaders and political strategists have formed The Western Majority Project both to expand on recent gains and to amplify their message on Western issues, such as renewable energy and growth.
Among the key figures are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. Nevada Democratic Party operative Rebecca Lambe is also playing a big part. Last week, we took a look at how Reid and Lambe started laying the groundwork for a political realignment that is emblematic of the region.
Consider the landscape: Six years ago, Republicans held every governor's mansion in the region and a vast majority of congressional seats. Today five out of eight states have Democratic governors. Since 2000, Democrats have picked up two Senate seats, seven House seats and two statehouses. The party hopes to win two more Senate seats in November.
As for the presidential election, according to the project's organizers:
"While many remain focused on Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida in this election, it is becoming more and more apparent that the road to the White House in 2008 is through the West and the real story may turn out to be in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. A shift of just 70,000 votes in those states in 2004 could have meant this Convention would have been focused on re-nominating John Kerry."
It's no accident Democrats are meeting in Denver for their national convention.