| Arizona Republic|
By Erin Kelly, Republic Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - After making historic gains in the interior West in the past three elections, Democrats are bracing for expected losses in the region in 2010.
Declining support for Democrats among the West's crucial independent voters, combined with traditional losses for the president's party in a midterm election, will make next year especially tough for the party, political analysts say.
"The Democrats have to defend what they've won, and it's not going to be easy," said Eric Herzik, chairman of the political-science department at the University of Nevada-Reno.
Tags: Harry Mitchell, Ann Kirkpatrick, Gabrielle Giffords, Republicans, Democrats