Results for tight state Senate race may take weeks

Voters in Arapahoe County may have to wait until the end of the month to find out who their state senator is, as officials in their suburban district south of Denver scramble to tally and confirm mail-in election results in a tight race between Republican Lauri Clapp and Democrat Linda Newell.

Newell is leading Clapp by 115 votes with 89 percent of precincts reporting, although it may be Thanksgiving before the county knows the true winner, with approximately 7,500 provisional ballots still uncounted.

As was reported by The Colorado Independent on Wednesday, the race could be determined by a recount, which is mandated under state law for election results if the winning margin is less than or equal to .05 percent.

As results were pouring in on Election Day, it appeared that Newell and Clapp were in for a long night, but the hours turned into days, and county representatives kept extending the deadline for the results.

“I’m hanging in there,” said Newell, who ran her campaign with an emphasis on heavy field organizing.

On Thursday Newell went to her first lawmaker orientation at the state Capitol.

Clapp’s campaign has not returned requests for comment.

The race will determine whether state Democrats add to their 20-14 majority in the Senate.

Also read The Colorado Independent’s continuing coverage of the SD 26 race.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at