CO-4, Larimer and Weld Counties

11:50PM — I’m back at the Crown Pub with the last remnants of the political die-hards sipping beers and looking dejected. One numbers junkie is zipping through the CNN poll results like Ted Haggard on meth.

Thankfully, the music tempo has picked up.

The GOP maintains control of HD49 and 51. The Dems keep HD-50 and 53. Kefalas and McCluskey reprise their 2004 match-up with a complete see-saw all night that will break down to a win by a whisker again.

Professional lech Steve Miller is currently winning by five points with 72 percent of the vote in. Let the recall begin! Larimer County may I introduce you to Tracy Baker?

Musgrave is winning by 3 points and is beating Paccione by a yard on the plains. Not unexpected but the margins have to be shrunk in order for a Dem to be viable in this district. Eidsness picked up 14 percent of the vote in Weld which is likely a death knell for Paccione. There may be more cows and sheep in those rural counties but when Musgrave gets well over 50 percent out there — and in too many cases upwards of 70 percent — unless the challenger wins overwhelmingly in Larimer and Boulder the numbers just won’t add up.

11:01PM — Unofficial preliminary results from Weld County. Musgrave is winning decisively with nearly half of the votes cast. in House District 50, Jim Reisberg is handily beating back a challenge from Dave Owens 69-31 thus far.

Not surprisingly, Ref I is going down in flames here.

10:40PM — Angie leaves the ballroom and the crowd is seriously thinning out. The coffee is gone and the buffet is wrecked too but the bar is still hopping.

The crowd launches into spontaneous applause at the announcement on CNN that McGaskill and Talent are now tied. Wow. These people are tasting blood in the water.

Angie’s staff are hugging one another and congratulating themselves. Um… fellas… there’s a lot of night left.

Damn, I wish there was some coffee.

10:25PM — “You guys are killing me with love. This race isn’t quite over yet but I appreciate your support.”

The latest results from 9News show Musgrave 45 Paccione 44 and Eidsness 11 as of 10:28PM.

“I want to make a promise to you that I promise you that I will live up to the investment that you made in my campaign,” said Paccione.

She jokes while her phone goes off during her speech that maybe it’s Nancy Pelosi calling and the crowd goes wild.

10:20PM — Angie just arrived at the Larimer Dems party to shouts of “Angie. Angie. Angie.” and plackard waving supporters whooping and hollering.

10:12PM — John Jones, the chair of the Larimer Dems, made an announcement that a man’s wedding ring was found. Are the Larimer Dems getting a little too happy?

10:01PM — Apparently standing all night long wasn’t enough, so know folks are climbing atop chairs to watch the returns on Channel 7. Loud cheers went up for the tied race between Musgrave and Paccione. Boos for Tancredo. More cheers for Perlmutter.
Weak strains of “Angie. Angie. Angie” were heard in the background.

9:12PM — The Larimer Dems are fired up! It’s standing room only at the Fort Collins Hilton and the crowd of five hundred are on their feet. I think they’d cheer leaves dropping from trees at this point.

The booze is flowing. The chicken satay looks really tasty. This is one happy and well-fed crowd.

Candidates are thanking supporters at the podium. Their speeches are constantly punctuated by the raucous crowd watching the election returns.

Big contrast from the sad sack GOP party down the street.

8:27PM — At the Larimer GOP party pile of homemade elephant-shaped sugar cookies slathered with a thick coating of red frosting sat on a table undisturbed. The cocktail shrimp were popular though. Their little carcasses dumped in the lid of its plastic container.

It was also an alcohol-free affair. Maybe on account of the freshly-scrubbed faces of Rep. Musgrave’s Project Joshua Student Action Teams who rolled into town a few days ago to stump for the sponsor of the Home School Non-Discrimination Act.

While the mood was a restrained, there was a sense of optimism about Musgrave’s race. Overheard on the way in, one attendee reported that Musgrave was leading Paccione significantly in Weld County: “If we can hold even in Larimer, she’ll win.”
7:37PM — “We’re going to have to keep drinking until the numbers get better.”

Somebody needs to update the jukebox. An Eric Clapton slow jam is playing. Not exactly the mood music this hopeful crowd is looking for.

7:23PM — I’m at the joint Drinking Liberally and Rocky Mountain Chronicle election watch party at the Crown Pub in Old Town Fort C ollins.

Preliminary Larimer County results just splashed across the screen. And a lot of expeltives were spilt along with beer. Musgrave leads Paccione by 1 point among absentee votes. Eidsness is pulling 10 points.


The background on CD-4
Vast is an apt description of the 4th Congressional district.

It’s vast in terms of geography — 55,000 square miles. And it’s vast in intensity — suburban wealth, rural poverty, mountainfolk independence and religious fervor.

I’ll be covering a number of important races that could tip control of the U.S. House to the Democrats and ensure their continued majority in the Colorado Statehouse:

CD-4 — Musgrave* v Paccione v Eidsness
HD-49  — Lundberg* v Radford
HD-50 — Reisberg* v Owens
HD-51 — Marostica v Radke (open seat)
HD-52 — McCluskey* v Kefalas
HD-53 — Fischer v Yeldell (open seat)
Larimer County Assessor — Miller v Liebler v Herron (open seat)
* denotes incumbent

Voter affiliation in the district leans Republican with overwhelming partisanship in the rural plains which is balanced somewhat by Democratic and unaffiliated voters in the Denver exurban communities of Longmont, Loveland and Fort Collins.

In Larimer County, the most populated in the district, there is only one Democratic candidate running for election among the six county-wide seats.