The turn-around is dramatic.
Eight years after Democrats executed a hostile takeover of Colorado with what became known as the “Colorado Model,” Republicans returned in force with an almost clean sweep last night.
Cory Gardner handily defeated incumbent Mark Udall for the U.S. Senate seat. Udall earned himself the nickname “Mark Uterus” for his almost single-issue “War on Women” campaign. Heavily funded by the environmental lobby, he also touted alternative energy which has proved an expensive boondoggle both nationally and here in Colorado. Gardner, by contrast, is all for energy development, once a large sector in Colorado’s economy but hurt in recent years by Democrat policies.
The Republicans also appear to have re-taken both houses of the state legislature, fighting an uphill battle against 2012 Democrat-controlled redistricting and the new election law, dubbed the loosest in the nation by election experts.
In the House, Republicans won 34 of 65 seats. Two incumbent Democrats were defeated; a small Libertarian vote cost Republicans two additional seats. A couple of races were razor-thin and recounts are likely.
In the Senate, Republicans won 11 of 18 contests. Senate terms are four years, so not all of Colorado’s 35 seats were up for election. The two seats won in gun-control recall elections were lost again. In highly Democrat Pueblo, Democrats put up a gun-friendly candidate to defeat George Rivera and in Colorado Springs’ west side, Bloomberg-employed Mike Merrifield defeated Bernie Herpin. Merrifield has vowed to start where deposed John Morse left off.
In the third seat affected by recalls where Evie Hudak resigned rather than risk recall and the Senate flipping to Republican control, her appointed replacement Rachel Zensinger was defeated by recall activist Laura Woods.
In Senate races overall, Libertarian votes cost Republicans two more victories and prevented Woods from getting greater than 48% of the vote.
Republicans will need to figure out how to make common cause with Libertarians if they expect to maintain or expand their current electoral success.
The governor’s race is too close to call. At this time incumbent governor Hickenlooper leads challenger Beauprez by only 3543 votes—two-tenths of one percent of the votes cast. Here again a recall seems likely and election irregularities in Democrat-controlled Boulder and Adams Counties may hold the key. It was also reported that boxes full of unsigned ballots were turned in in Denver County.
Walker Stapleton retained his State Treasurer job, Wayne Williams won Secretary of State and Cynthia Coffman won Attorney General.
There was no change in the partisan makeup of Colorado’s seven U.S. House seats. All six incumbents running again retained their seats and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck won the seat held by Cory Gardner.
Two state constitutional amendments were defeated, one a fetal homicide amendment (dubbed a “personhood amendment” by the media) and the other a sketchy racetrack/casino betting scheme. A proposition to allow open negotiations of union-school board contracts passed while labeling genetically-modified food failed.
All results are unofficial and based on the Secretary of State’s reporting as of 3am this morning. Not all counts may be complete.