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Writing an article about the local Democrats' presence in state House District 17, which is located in the southeastern part of Colorado Springs, is like writing about a painting based solely on its negative space.

HD 17 is the county's only majority minority district, and it's struggling with poverty and crime. It's also a district that most Dems tell you is theirs to win.

In a county overwhelmed by Republicans, HD 17 is one of three truly competitive state legislative districts — districts where the Dems actually have a shot. So with an election coming up, and Republican candidates already campaigning in numerous districts: Where's the Democratic candidate for HD 17?

What we found (cover story starting here) is that there isn't one. At least, not yet. More importantly, however, we found that the Democrats have, by the admission of the local party's own leadership, failed to create a network in that district that would produce candidates. Party activist and former state executive committeeman Bob Nemanich calls HD 17 "a stain on the party."

The Dems still have time to find someone, prep that person, and get him or her out knocking on doors, with help from other party members. But even if they can, they still face the hard work of building a political network that understands and works in collaboration with the district's many diverse and multifaceted neighborhoods.

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