DENVER
09/14/2010 12:05 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

John Salazar Beefs Up Staff As Multiple Reports Call Race A Toss-Up

Colorado Congressman John Salazar (CD-3) is beefing up his campaign staff Just as multiple reports are indicating that the three-term Democrat will face a tougher-than-expected reelection battle this year.

The Denver Post reports that Mark Udall spokesman Tara Trujillo is on leave to serve as campaign spokesman for Salazar.

The Salazar campaign has also hired Denver-based consultant Mike Stratton.

Salazar, who has twice won reelection with over 60% of the vote (including once in 2006 against his current opponent, Scott Tipton), is suddenly facing uncertain prospects thanks to a political climate unfavorable to incumbents.

Last week, the highly respected Cook Political Report changed the status of the CD-3 race from "leans Democratic" to "toss-up."

This came after the release of two polls (one released by the Tipton campaign, the other by a Republican group) showed the challenger with a slight lead.

Salazar has dismissed the polls, saying his campaign's internal polling has him in the lead. The incumbent also is also soundly winning the fundraising battle.

Nonetheless, even a competitive race in CD-3 is seen as a stark reminder of the times, given Salazar's decisive victory over Tipton 4 years ago.

As ABC News points out, a loss for Salazar would be an "ominous sign" for Democrats nationally.