Republican Luke Korkowski has conceded Colorado’s closely watched state House District 61 race … but the question is, to whom?
Unofficial tallies put Democrat Roger Wilson of Missouri Heights out in front with 9,495 votes, followed by independent, incumbent write-in Kathleen Curry with 9,003 and Korkowski with 8,892. Even though Wilson is ahead, Curry could still launch a legal challenge as she struggles to get all of her votes counted.
After she dropped out of the Democratic Party last year, Curry entered this year’s election as a write-in, which comes with major challenges. Already the three-term state representative has filed a lawsuit against Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher challenging his rule that supporters of write-in candidates must also fill in the oval, or box, next to a write-in candidate’s name. She says there is nothing in state law that requires a box or oval to be filled in. The rule is unconstitutional, she says.
“We expect to prevail,” Curry recently said of her lawsuit against Buescher.
Her campaign is waiting on the judge’s ruling, which is expected to come down today or tomorrow.
But to force a recount in Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Pitkin counties, it could cost Curry as much as $20,000 — maybe even more. She hasn’t announced whether she will pay for the recount.
Wilson, meanwhile, is playing the victor.
“I look forward to serving all the people of House District 61 with a focus on opportunities for jobs, small business, education, transportation, and a passion for the future of this land and its people,” he wrote on his website today, noting that he received a call from Korkowski conceding the race.
But in an interview with the Colorado Independent, Korkowski said he was conceding to both candidates.
“I’m conceding to Curry too, depending on whether she decides to challenge the count. She still has a chance to pull it out, but even if she wins, I’m still about 600 votes behind Wilson, so I’m out.”
If a recount is requested, an already heated contest could intensify. Tuesday, Wilson’s campaign manager, Gordon Bronson, complained about Curry’s poll watchers giving pens to voters who took them inside the polling booths. The practice violated election law, according to Bronson.
Meanwhile, Curry’s poll watchers are complaining that they aren’t being given fair access to vote tabulation rooms. The American Constitution Party raised a similar complaint on Election Day.
HD61 is a key energy district, with large deposits of natural gas and coal. One of the reasons Curry, a major star in the party, abandoned the Democrats is because she was not happy with the tone of negotiations that led to amended oil and gas drilling regulations last year. She also did not think Democrats were serious enough about trimming the budget in the midst of a global recession.
And she wanted to spark an unaffiliated voter revolution in the state, especially on the Western Slope, where the majority of voters register as independents.
Republicans have reportedly regained control of the Colorado state House but not the state Senate.