Perlmutter defies odds — wins re-election in toughest of times

LAKEWOOD — Congressman Ed Perlmutter was beaming when he took the stage at a Holiday Inn in Lakewood tonight, surrounded by family and prominent Democrats.

Likely the lone winner among Colorado’s three Congressional Democrats in swing districts, Perlmutter was thankful.

Like most winners, he thanked his family, his staff, a host of volunteers and numerous groups who had supported him over Republican Ryan Frazier. He thanked realtors, teachers, veterans and firefighters.

Ed Perlmutter giving a victory speech

As of 10:30, 9News had Perlmutter up 53-43, and he had been projected the winner by most news organizations. Frazier had not yet delivered an official concession speech, but Perlmutter said Frazier had conceded graciously to him on the phone earlier this evening.

In the end, he said he thought he owed his victory to a combination of the hard work of volunteers and supporters and to the fact that he has tried to be accessible and available to voters. He talked about his every other Saturday “government at the grocery,” where he sets up a table and a couple of chairs at a grocery store in his district and talks to whomever shows up.

Ryan Frazier at a party tonight

“I walk the precincts, and that’s what people want,” he said.

He said he tries to be knowledgeable and effective — and to the extent he succeeds, he said it is because “I have the greatest people in the world working with me.”

He said this election was challenging because of the economy. “It was a very tough year (to run as an incumbent Democrat),” he said. “It has been a tough two years for Americans. I was nervous, but I never doubted we would win,” he said, adding it was because of the hard working ground troops that he was able to buck a tide that swept incumbent Democrats from office both nationally and in Colorado.

At this point, he parted the crowd in a scene worthy of Charlton Heston, and did two cartwheels through the middle of the room.

He said this election was especially difficult for him because of all the outside money spent against him. He said the efforts to oust him required him to raise more money to run more advertising than he has had to run in the past. “It was a tough, grueling campaign.”

Perlmutter added the work just begins with victory and that the next two years will be about helping people get back to work. Perlmutter said this would be done by creating more access to credit and building up America’s manufacturing base.

Perlmutter said he would be just as effective in a Republican House of Representatives as he was in a Democratic chamber. “I will be able to work with the Democratic Senate, the Democratic While House and also with a Republican Congress,” he said.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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