Neck and neck

Governor John Hickenlooper is trailing in his re-election bid to former Congressman Bob Beauprez by 10,000 votes, according to the Secretary of State’s published returns. But with a little over half the votes tallied and the bulk coming from the state’s conservative counties, the race remains a dead heat.

Many analysts have suggested that the governor’s race is a good measure by which to judge which party will control the state legislature. Democrats held a mere one-seat majority this year in the chamber after passing controversial gun-control laws that spurred recall elections in which two seats flipped to Republicans.

Tonight, however, it appears as though both of those recall seats may flip back. Leroy Garcia, a Democrat, is leading in his race to unseat Republican George Rivera in Pueblo’s Senate District 3. And Democrat Michael Merrifield is running ahead of Republican Bernie Herpin in Colorado Springs’s Senate District 11.

But it’s still early. Republicans lead for now in four Jefferson County swing districts and numbers are just barely trickling in from contested Western Slope District 5, stretched along I-70 through ski and ranch country.

News outlets, including the New York Times, are calling the Colorado U.S. Senate race pitting incumbent Democrat Mark Udall against Republican Congressman Cory Gardner.

Gardner is up by 7 points and that lead has held for hours. The Udall campaign and its allies are relying on unprecedented midterm election turnout and it’s true that late-reporting counties have traditionally gone to Democrats. Still, the numbers on the right piled up early in the race and now gardner’s lead seems increasingly insurmountable.

[ Video: Lt. Governor Joe Garcia speaks at the Westin in Denver.]