Hold Your Horses, Say Dems in 2 Key House Districts

It’s being reported that Republicans will not take control of the Colorado Senate, a position solidifying now that incumbent Democrats Gail Schwartz and John Morse appear to have won their very close races against Bob Rankin and Owen Hill respectively.

In the Colorado House, the situation is much tighter. Republicans have picked up a few seats, but everything now is coming down to two suburban districts that will likely decide control of the House: HD-29 in Arvada and Westminster held by Rep. Debbie Benefield against Robert Ramirez of the GOP, and HD-33 in Broomfield pitting incumbent Dianne Primavera against Republican Don Beezley. In both of these races, the GOP’s margin is perilously small–in HD-29, we’re told there are a significant number of provisional ballots left to be counted and a margin of only 221 votes, while in HD-33 there are Adams County precincts that have not yet tallied.

In both cases, Democrats say the numbers do not allow either side to claim victory, and are asking for patience while the clerks do their jobs. We’ll update as circumstances warrant.

UPDATE: Sources tell us there are at least 450 provisional ballots in HD-29, counting will reportedly not even begin on these ballots until tomorrow. Needless to say, that makes it impossible to call a race separated by 221 votes.

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Jack Burden says:

    The House, on the other hand, looks dangerously close to going Republican.

    That means Speaker McNulty. On the Democratic side, what’s leadership going to look like? Will Ds be able to forgive losses enough to make Kerr or Scanlan speaker? Maybe.  

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    into the provisional ballots.

    She is holding a 518 vote lead over Leonard before provisional ballots are counted.  The recount threshold is about 300 votes and there are at least 483 provisional votes to count so it could go to a recount but Dems are currently holding on to SD16

    • I’ve been fretting that one out all night.  When I went to bed at 11:30, she was behind by about 300 votes and the lying media displays were showing the district as 100% counted.

      This morning I woke up and she was still down 300 votes, but somewhere they found 9% of precincts that hadn’t been counted overnight.

    • Where did you get that number?

      Most of the outlets still have Leonard up by 372, 91% reporting.  The Ghost says Morgan Carroll Tweeted the race 6(!) votes up for Jeanne Nicholson with some ballots still to count.

      I’m guessing those outstanding 9% are still Boulder Country, which should be good for Nicholson, but I’d like numbers from a source.

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        Woot! 11:15AM:


        Democrat candidate for state Senate District 16 Jeanne Nicholson has pulled ahead of her Republican opponent Tim Leonard by a razor thin margin according to the most up-to-date results available today.

        Early unofficial numbers have Nicholson ahead by about 900 votes, 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent. Early totals from the six counties in the district put Nicholson at 28,576 votes over Leonard’s 27,673.

          • Gilpin Guy says:

            it will still leave him short so the best he can hope for is a recount.  If it stays 50-50 then he falls outside the recount limit and game over.  Another Tea Party extremist bites the dust.

            Republicans could have fielded Mark Hubert who is the DA of Eagle County like Ken Buck is the DA of Weld.  Hubert was perceived as a moderate Republican who understood mountain issues.  How ironic is it that the Tea Party candidates forfeited seats at both the national and state level that would have allowed Republicans to take control of those legislative bodies?  Being too extreme cost them the biggest prize.  They blew their best chance because Democrats are done being bloodied by the bailouts.  The public got their pound of flesh but now Republicans will have to lead which as Obama found out is much more difficult.  There will also be more blame to go around next time.

            • The Tea Party was their own worst enemy this year, costing the GOP control of both the State and National Senate.

              They fielded too many flawed candidates who happened to spout their brand of nonsense.

            • Car 31 says:

              I agree with your thoughts on the race, but why did Leonard have such a strong showing? Strictly party loyalty, even though the guy is a beer or two short of a six pack?

              I thought Nicholson would be ahead by at least 3-4 points…

              • I think there was a lot of “thrown out the bums” in the state, and Nicholson touted her experience in getting things done in government.  Leonard, OTOH, had some strong negative mailings done on his behalf that portrayed Nicholson as responsible for job losses in Gilpin during the recession.

                Then, too, there’s a strong Libertarian streak in the mountains, and it might be that Tea Party Tim’s anti-government message appealed to them this year.

                • Car 31 says:

                  There were some interesting results on local races around the state that surprised me somewhat and the closeness of this race was one of them…

                  Did the U candidate for Nicholson’s commissioner seat take votes away from the Dem or the Republican? That was another close race.

                  • Gilpin Guy says:

                    but Republicans won the seat.

                    REP Connie McLain 1,143 45.39%

                    DEM Richard Gee 1,042 41.38%

                    UNA Del Johnson 333 13.22%

                    McLain is a commonsense Republican who has lived in the county about 39 years.  She works in the Clerk & Recorder office and is a really good person.  Richard Gee came close but was a relative unknown in the county.

                    Johnson ran on an uber anti-government platform and repeatedly stated his agenda to downsize government and beat up on the county employees.  Even in a Libertarian conducive environment like Gilpin, his message and “I know what’s best” persona were a complete turnoff to voters.

                    I thought Richard was a great candidate and his fund raisers where his Irish folk music band played were a real treat.  It is a shame he came up short but he ran a great campaign and worked hard at getting elected.


    • Interlocken Loop says:


      This link has been pretty reliable.  Whether the Gibbs seat stays Democratic or not Brandon Schaffer and Morgan Carroll did a remarkable job leading the Senate Democrats.  The same cannot be said for their counterparts in the House

      • Jack Burden says:

        To think, I was beginning to respect your political acumen.

        It’s comparing apples to oranges. The house had every single one of its members up this year, as I hope you know. This was a Republican year. The Senate stayed safe in part because of its leadership but also because many of its incumbents were protected from the ballot box this year.

        Unlike the house. In any other year, Gagliardi would’ve had a much better chance of winning. Same with Apuan. This year, not so much, and that has nothing to do with the stewardship of the HMP.

        • Interlocken Loop says:

          Gail Schwartz narrowly won in a landslide year four years ago.  John Morse had a very tough district.  Cheri Jahn’s District is always close.  Winning all three of those was very impressive indeed.  

          Your points are all valid Jack.  Two years ago in a landslide year the House Democrats ended up losing two seats and that trend continued this cycle.  

          The House Democrats did not do a bad job.   The Senate Democrats did a remarkably good job.  

  3. GalapagoLarry says:

    Holding on to the state legislature is right up there with, perhaps long-run more important than, the US Senate race. It’d be nice this time around if redistricting doesn’t end up in the Supreme Court, and essential it doesn’t end up in Republican hands.

  4. Interlocken Loop says:

    There are always rumors about uncounted Adams County precincts and all kinds of provisional ballots.  Both Representatives are too far behind to have a realistic chance of catching up.    

  5. kewl says:

    …and every damn night, starting when mail ballots went out, I would come home to at least one nasty mail piece about Debbie. Debbie Benefield kills jobs. Debbie Benefield coddles illegal immigrants. Debbie Benefield … you get the idea.

    Last summer Robert Ramirez showed up at my door to introduce himself. Good retail politics always gives a candidate a +1 in my book, regardless of party. I’m a solid D, and his campaign was reaching out to the whole district, not just the reliable R’s or U’s, with a combination of local shoe leather and out-of-state anonymous dreck.

    Meanwhile Debbie phoned her campaign in, or so it seemed to me. (She didn’t show up to the county assembly, for God’s sake.) I held my nose and voted for her, and I’m not really surprised at this outcome.

    • Interlocken Loop says:

      Debbie Benefield sent out fundraising letters for Andrew Romanoff and Cary Kennedy.  Great people but she needed to look out for numero uno

      • Jack Burden says:

        I think that a) she never considered the possibility that she might lose, and b), if she did, it might’ve come as part of a “ehh, I had a good run mentality.”

        It’s Debbie Benefield. She’s extremely hardworking when she wants to be, but I can see her having grown tired of everything.

  6. ohwilleke says:

    would seem a better prospect for Dems.

    Picking up a 403 vote margin from 1700 votes in a geographically distinct area seems a more likely possibility than picking up 221 from 450 provisional ballots for the entire district.

    • JLD says:

      The ballots not counted in HD33 represent a very small number.  In all of Adams County there were only 2500 and some change ballots remaining to be counted according to the clerk’s office via phone.  That figure represents AdCo in it’s entirety.  HD33 only takes up 10 precincts of the 160ish of the county.  It’s also the most Republican area of the entire HD based on partisan turnout.

      Broomfield has 25 provisional ballots, 27 military and 111 signature mismatched mail ballots.  Data from the other counties regarding those types of currently uncounted ballots has not been provided by the Boulder, Weld and Adams clerks offices (Weld is basically inconsequetial as there are only about 60 voters in the relevant Weld precinct)

      Knowing how few outstanding votes are out there in Adams and given that it is from the most Republican part of the district I don’t see the margin narrowing enough to even get to recount territory.

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