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Democrats rolled up big victories statewide and, in 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democrat in two decades to carry the state’s nine electoral votes.

Now, however, the state’s unemployment hovers near 8 percent, making Coloradans gloomier about the economy and their elected officials.

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney and his rivals hope that mood could bring Colorado back to the GOP this November, building on gains of two U.S. House seats and pickups of the Secretary of State’s Office and state Attorney General’s Office in 2010.

From wire dispatches and staff reports