Carroll named speaker as Colorado legislative leadership takes shape

State Rep. Terrance Carroll will be the state’s first African-American speaker of the House after winning a run-off against fellow Denver state Rep. Anne McGihon on Thursday morning at the state Capitol. State Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison also bid for the vacancy, which was created by Speaker Andrew Romanoff’s retirement and the unexpected Election Day defeat of heir apparent Bernie Buescher of Grand Junction.

UPDATED with more results below

The House speaker must be voted in by the entire House of Representatives, but the minority party typically follows the majority party’s lead.

Colorado legislators met in party caucuses to select leadership posts for the next General Assembly, but there were a few surprises and some rumored outcomes turned out to be unfounded. PolitickerCO’s Jeremy Pelzer reported on the selections in a flurry of posts Thursday.

Louisville Democrat Paul Weissmann won election as House majority leader. Lakewood’s Andy Kerr beat Nancy Todd of Aurora to become assistant majority leader, the position Carroll held in the last legislative session.

Senate President Peter Groff of Denver kept his position without challenge. It will be the first time in history Colorado’s legislative bodies are both headed by African-Americans.

Longmont’s Brandon Schaffer won election as Senate majority leader. In an upset, state Sen. Betty Boyd of Lakewood beat John Morse of Colorado Springs for the position of Senate president pro tem.

Grand Junction Republican Josh Penry was elected Senate minority leader without challenge. In the other chamber, Mike May of Parker and David Balmer of Centennial were selected House minority leader and assistant minority leader, also by acclamation.

State Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma beat back a challenge from Bob Gardner (no relation) of Colorado Springs for House minority whip. Centennial Republican Nancy Spence won election to the new position of Senate minority whip.

Mike Kopp of Littleton was named Senate Republican Caucus chair. Colorado Springs state Rep. Amy Stephens beat Durango’s Ellen Roberts for House Republican Caucus chair.

Republican state Sen. Al White of Hayden will keep his seat on the powerful Joint Budget Committee. He has served on the committee as a House member. Republican state Rep. Don Marostica of Loveland was named to fill White’s House seat on the JBC by House Minority Leader May.

UPDATED at 3:30 p.m.: Thornton’s Lois Tochtrop won election as Senate majority leader in a three-way race, running ahead of Jim Isgar of Hesperus and handing Colorado Springs’ John Morse his second defeat of the day, according to PolitickerCO. Earlier, Morse lost a bid for Senate president pro tem to state Sen. Betty Boyd.

The House Democratic Caucus elected state Rep. Karen Middleton of Aurora as caucus chair. State Rep. Sara Gagliardi of Arvada also sought the position. Pueblo’s Sal Pace, who won election to the state House two days ago, won the position of assistant caucus chair without opposition.

Another Aurora Democrat was selected to chair her party’s caucus in the other chamber. State Sen. Suzanne Williams won the post helming the Senate Democratic Caucus.