For those hoping the November 8 General Election would bring some change to the Colorado legislature, Tuesday evening brought stinging disappointment. Statewide races were won by the Democrat incumbents with winners announced shortly after the polls closing. The biggest surprise for many was the lead taken by Adam Frisch over incumbent Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. However, as of late afternoon on December 9 that gap has rapidly closed to less than one percentage point.
Instead of picking up Republican seats in the State Senate, the caucus lost seats (as of this writing) with unofficial tallies showing a 12-23 balance sheet. Preliminary House numbers show a similar shift with the possibility of a 46-19 advantage for Democrats (up from the current 41-23), although late tallies from Weld County and El Paso County show incumbent candidates there catching up with challengers. Keep in mind, these numbers are unofficial, with some results still being tallied and potential recounts for some races.
What is surprising to some is the Democrats’ margin of success in races that were predicted to be very close. While a handful of races are separated by two or three points, those in the Denver Metro area (for the Dems) and in the solidly Republican rural areas show steadfast team loyalty with large victories.
In Senate District 8 covering Northwest Colorado, Rep. Dylan Roberts will move into the Senate following a decisive victory and concession by Republican businessman Matt Solomon and House District 57 held by Rep. Perry Will goes to Elizabeth Velasco from Glenwood Springs.
In House District 26 which includes Eagle, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt Counties, Democrat Meghan Lukens, at teacher from Steamboat Springs, has the lead over Republican Savannah Wolfson.
Ballot initiatives were similarly close, with Proposition 125 to allow sale of wine in grocery stores failing by less than half a percentage point. Likewise, a proposal for an increased income tax for affordable housing passing by less than half a point.
Other liquor-related measures to allow third party delivery of alcohol (Proposition 126) and expansion of retail liquor licenses (Proposition 124) are failing as votes are still being tallied.
The question of Senate leadership is fairly certain, with President Steve Fenberg set to resume that position. There has been some rumor of a change in Senate Dominic Moreno favoring a return to the JBC leaving the Majority Leader’s position open.
House leadership is totally up in the air with the unexpected death of Minority Leader Hugh McKean on October 30, and Rep. Colin Larson who had been rumored to fill that slot trailing in votes behind Tammy Story, who is attempting to move from the Senate.
This is likely to change within the next few days, although not significantly.