Colorado state legislature returns to more typical purple hue

Colorado State Capitol dome

After a shakeup that has had ballot counters working for days after the election tallying close races, the state Senate has flipped by one seat to Republican control, 18 seats to 17 seats. Democrats retain control of the House, though the scale of their majority remains in flux. Ballots arestill being reviewed in two close races where Democratic incumbents Rep. Jenice May (D-Aurora) and Rep. Mike McLachlan (D-Durango) trail their Republican opponents by a few hundred votes.

Even if both May and McLachlan lose, Democrats will still hold a 34-31 majority in the chamber and have scheduled their leadership election for this Friday morning.

Currently, House Majority Leader Dicky Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) is running unopposed for Speaker of the House. Denver Reps. Crisanta Duran and Dan Pabon are both running for Majority Leader and Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) is running against Beth McCann (D-Denver) for Assistant Majority Leader. Rep. Sue Ryden, who nearly lost her Aurora seat in the Republican wave, runs unopposed for Majority Whip.

Though the balance of power was split in the state legislature up until 2013 when Democrats took control of the House as part of the wave that reelected President Barack Obama, Republicans have not controlled the Senate in a decade. Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R- Colorado Springs) is considered a shoe-in to replace President Morgan Carroll (D-Denver).

The return to a purple statehouse is widely considered a boon for Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose path to reelection narrowed considerably after he signed controversial policies passed by the all-Democratic legislature in 2013 that concerned issues including gun control and rural renewable energy standards.


[Image by John Maushammer