The final vote is in — Pat Steadman has won the vacancy selection to replace Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Veiga in Senate District 31 in the third round of voting. With 93 votes, the civil-rights lobbyist surpassed former state Rep. Ann Ragsdale, who tallied 63 votes.
“This is democracy in action,” Steadman said after his win was announced. Steadman’s win comes on the 13-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Colorado’s notorious anti-gay ballot measure, Amendment 2, he announced to the crowd after vowing to roll up his sleeves and get to work. The court decision “was the galvanizing event” that made Steadman believe politics could work, he said.
Steadman worked on the campaign against Amendment 2 and then helped organize the legal battle that ultimately led to its repeal on the grounds it violated a constitutional guarantee to equal protection.
A partner in the lobbying firm Mendez, Steadman & Associates and board member of the gay-rights organization Equality Colorado, Steadman has been behind a host of measures in the Legislature and at the ballot box designed to advance gay civil rights. Steadman has said he planned to step aside from his firm if he won the Senate appointment.
Steadman, 45, will be the fourth openly gay legislator to serve in the Colorado Legislature. The first was Veiga, who endorsed Steadman for the vacancy appointment. In what could have been a first in the state, two of the three finalists for the SD 31 vacancy were openly gay. Denver schools spokesman Alex Sanchez, who finished in third place in the second round of voting, threw his support to Steadman for the final ballot.
The Advocate profiled Steadman and his political work “at the forefront of Colorado’s equal rights battle” last fall.