Democrat Bill Ritter will be Colorado’s next Governor and will govern with a legislature controlled by Democrats in both houses. Ed Perlmutter will flip CO-7 for the Democrats, while Doug Lamborn is on track to take CO-5 for the Republicans. With two-thirds of the vote in, Democrat Angie Paccione is trailing in CO-4 against Republican Marilyn Musgrave by 3 percentage points. Nationally, Democrats have already regained majority control of the U.S. House. Democrat Fern O’Brien’s troubled campaign for Attorney General looks as if it is on track to lose, while the races for CU Regent, State Treasurer and Secretary of State are still too close to call. The downticket races statewide have probably paid the greatest price for Denver’s election snafus.
Amendments 38 (Petitions), 39 (65% on instruction), 40 (judicial term limits), and 44 (marijuana), as well as Referendum J (65% on instruction) are en route to defeat. Meanwhile, Amendment 41 (government ethics), Referendum F (recall deadlines) and Referendum K (sue feds over immigration) are leading by safe margins in every county’s early returns so far, and Referendum E and G are both leading in early returns by 4-1 margins. Every Court of Appeals judge has at least 60% of voters in favor of retention in every county’s early results so far. Amendment 42 (minimum wage) and Amendment 43 (marriage) are leaning towards passage. Referendum I (domestic partnership) has been soundly defeated. Referendum H (end tax deduction for illegal immigrant compensation), is also close. Denver 1B (CFO position) is on track to pass, while Denver 1A (sales tax for pre-school) is too close to call.
CORRECTION: Referendum F failed.Democrats have held onto control in the state senate and state house, improving the size of their majorities in both chambers.
Democrats came into the Senate races with 10 seats not up for election and 2 more (SDs 3 and 34) which were uncontested. They have won in SDs 6 (incubment Jim Isgar), 11 (challenger John Morse in El Paso County), 16 (incumbent Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald), 20 (incumbent Moe Keller), 21 (incumbent Betty Boyd who replaced Deanna Hanna when an ethics scandal ousted Hanna), 24 (incumbent Lois Tochtrop) and 32 (Chris Romer in Denver’s open seat). Two races are still close and leaning GOP are SD 5 (incumbent Republican Lewis Entz is holding on by a thin margin with only 60% of the vote counted) and 22 (Republican Mike Kopp is narrowly leading Democrat Paula Noonan in the early returns). Republicans prevailed in open SD 2.
In the state house, the sole focus of GOP financial efforts after the Governor’s race and State Senate races seemed unwinnable, Democrats already have a secure victory in 35 seats (two over the 33 seat majority), in part, because Republicans failed to even field a challenger in many districts. Four more seats are currently leaning Democratic (HDS 27 (Sara Gagliardi in Lakewood), 29 (Debbie Benefield in Jefferson County), 38, and 52). The GOP has 23 seats (only two because races were uncontested) and 3 more are leaning its way (HDs 22 (Republican Ken Summers in Jefferson County), 37(Spencer Swalm (R) v. Angela Engle (D) in Arapahoe County), and 59).