Schwartz survives scare; Dems hold onto state Senate majority

The Denver Post is reporting that state Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Snowmass Democrat with a big GOP target on her back, won her re-election bid over Republican Bob Rankin of Aspen by just 832 votes, allowing Democrats to hold onto a slim majority in the Colorado Senate.

“I am so relieved because certainly I serve at the whim of the voters,” Schwartz told the Post. A big backer of Gov. Bill Ritter’s New Energy Economy, Schwartz was hit hard by the conservative Western Tradition Partnership 527, which attacked her for her support of a bill that converts coal-fired power plants to natural gas. “The lies, the distortions were so horrible it was beyond the pale.”

Republicans needed four state Senate seats to recapture the majority the GOP last held in 2004, but so far had only picked up a win by state Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, over Sen. Bruce Whitehead, D-Hesperus.

With 91 percent of the precincts reporting, Tea Party favorite and American Constitution Party founder turned Republican Tim Leonard is up by 372 votes over former county health nurse and Democratic county commissioner Jeanne Nicholson in the bid to replace Democrat Dan Gibbs in SD 16.

The Post also is reporting Republicans have recaptured a majority in the state House, despite some races, such as Kathleen Curry’s House District 61 seat, still up in the air.

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