Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
CO 04: Rep. Betsy Markey v. state Rep. Cory Gardner
Location: Fort Collins, Greeley
Days until the election: 29
Fort Collins, Colorado (CNN) - When Rep. Betsy Markey, a freshman Democrat, arrived back in Colorado a few days ago for the home stretch of her re-election campaign, she knew she had her work cut out for her.
Joliet, Illinois (CNN) – Organizers of the Tea Party Express bus tour arriving in Washington later this week planned their route to go though Democratic congressional districts they consider vulnerable.
"What we did was take a map of the United States and then we went head and pin pointed the members of congress that merited our attention and then we looked at those that might be politically vulnerable," said Joe Wierzbicki, a strategist with the conservative PAC Our Country Deserves Better, who are organizing the cross country Tea Party Express tour.
Topping the group's target list in the Senate is current Democrat, and former moderate Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. The Tea Party Express makes four stops in Pennsylvania later this week.
EL PASO, Texas (CNN) - As the Tea Party Express makes its way across the country, Sarah Palin has emerged as a favorite daughter of the movement, and organizers have invited her to join the tour - or at least come to the final stop in the nation's capital.
The bus is scheduled to end its nationwide journey in Washington on Saturday, September 12.
"We've been in touch with her people, letting her know the response that we've gotten. She's very suportive of the movement," says Joe Wierzbicki, one of the organizers traveling on the Tea Party Express.
So far, no politician has emerged as a leader of the Tea Party movement – and the question of just who might eventually take up the mantle is a hot topic on the bus. Nobody may be better positioned than Palin - but organizers, some of the most motivated members of the conservative base, still say she'll need to earn that title.
"Right now there's a handful of people who strike a chord with the tea party base, and she is certainly one of those people," says Wierzbicki. "Whether or not she emerges as one of those leaders, that's between her and the American people."
Las Vegas, NEVADA (CNN) - As the Tea Party Express rolls out of Las Vegas, there is at least one person who may be glad to see it go: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"There's been kind of an underground gathering of opponents of Harry Reid," said Mark Williams, one of the organizers of the cross country conservative caravan that is making its way towards Washington.
Williams says that dislike of the Nevada Democrat is one of the key factors that is driving people to come out to the five Nevada stops on the tour. With Reid not being up for election until 2010, Williams says people are using the tea parties to come together and vent their frustration with the state's senior senator.
Protesters at a tea party event in Sparks, Nevada drew a rather unflattering caricature of the senator and taped it to the door of a port-a-pottie.
In Winnemucca, Nevada Deborah Johns, another tour organizer, won big applause when she brought up Reid.
"It's time to let Harry Reid know it's time to go back to searchlight," she said, referring to Reid's hometown in Nevada. "When he gets there the lights are going to be out."
ELY, Nevada (CNN) - Hundreds of people turned out for a series of weekend events as the Tea Party Express cruised across northern Nevada.
The caravan of tour buses, RVs, cargo trucks and SUVs kicked off a cross-country tour Friday in Sacramento, California, and plans on holding events in 33 cities en route to Washington, D.C. for what organizers hope will be a big rally on September 12.
The tour is being funded by Our Country Deserves Better, a conservative political action committee.
The tea party movement gained momentum this year; several parties were held across the country this summer to protest President Barack Obama and the Democrats' economic stimulus plans, among other things.
On July 4, nearly 2,000 advocates, toting signs and chanting slogans, rallied outside Congress. Activists said the TEA Party Day - an acronym for "Taxed Enough Already" - was in response to runaway government spending. But now, the focus is on health care reform, an issue that has brought about demand for bigger, more encompassing debate throughout the country and in Congress.
At an event Saturday in Winnemucca, Nevada, Carolyn Rowe came to the tea party in a T-shirt depicting Obama as the joker from "Batman." In place of the familiar "Hope" logo of Obama's campaign was the word "Joke."
She says she is concerned about the number of so-called "czars" in the Obama administration and she fears losing her choice of doctor if health care reform passes.
"I believe he's trouncing the Constitution and taking control of our country in a direction we don't want," says Rowe, from beneath a wide brimmed straw hat. "I think he has a hidden agenda, and I think he doesn't tell the truth and that in itself bothers me."
Husband-and-wife team Barbara and Pete Jones drove up from Reno, Nevada. Barbara's red T-shirt said "Impeach Everyone," but she said Obama is first on her list.
DENVER, Colorado (CNN) - In Washington, all eyes are on President-elect Barack Obama, but 1,700 miles away, in Colorado, another historic swearing-in has taken place.
For the first time in American history, African-Americans lead both chambers of a state legislature.
"I'm honored and humbled that my colleagues chose us to lead the Senate and the House. And it's more humbling when you look and this is a state with 4 percent African-American population," said new Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, who joins Senate President Peter Groff in the state Capitol.
"And it leads you to believe and impresses upon you that they were more concerned with our character and our ability to lead as opposed to the color of our skin," he added.
Carroll said he's mindful of history.