State senator Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso is NOT in imminent danger of defeat by Republican Dee Margo, a GOP legislator from out that way tells me. Yes, Margo will be well funded, and, yes, he will have the services of the consulting firm formerly headed by Karl Rove, and, yes, he has the endorsement of El Paso County’s Democratic sheriff, who has butted heads with Shapleigh. But Democratic candidates in El Paso start with a 20,000-vote edge in straight-ticket voting. It’s true that party line voters are allowed to cast one vote for a candidate from the other party, but the word is that the D’s are pushing for that one vote to be Carole Keeton Strayhorn in the governor’s race.

This race bears watching no matter what, because a Margo victory would give the R’s a 21-10 majority, enough to make it impossible for the D’s to muster the eleven votes that, according to Senate tradition, allow a minority of senators to block legislation from coming to the floor for debate.