GOP Takes Colorado Senate By 876 (Or 689) Votes

UPDATE: Statement from Colorado Senate Democrats, who are holding a press conference at 3:00PM today:

The Democratic caucus plans to do whatever possible to block efforts to take the state backward with respect to economic growth, women's rights, LGBT equality, the environment and workers' rights.

While the loss of this one seat changes which party is in control of the Senate, the Senate Democrats had many victories in this election, including winning back both recall seats, winning 2 out of 4 very difficult seats in Jefferson County, and winning the rural seat on the Western Slope. 

"After several days of wait-and-see, we now know the fate of Senate control," said Senate President Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora. "Under Democratic leadership, we were able to achieve the fourth fastest growing economy in the nation and get the unemployment rate down to the lowest it has been since 2008. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments and all of the people who worked with us to make those possible. Going forward, we will do what we can to defend the rights and liberties that we worked so hard to protect. It is our job to hold the Republicans accountable, work together where we can, and continue to fight for a great state."



The last update yesterday from Adams County at about 11:30PM indicates that the margin between Senate District 24 candidates Beth Martinez Humenik (R) and Judy Solano (D) went in the opposite direction from previous days–expanding the narrow lead for Humenik to 876 votes where previously Solano was gaining. It should be noted that this total does not include provisional ballots, outstanding overseas and military (UOCAVA) ballots, or deficient ballots that can still be cured through Wednesday, but the math seems clear at this point. This ends the suspense over counting in Adams County, which was slowed by the need to manually inspect write-in votes for an obscure county race with no candidates.

And it means that Colorado Republicans will assume control of the Colorado Senate, flipping an 18-17 majority Democratic chamber to 18-17 GOP control. It's a hard-fought win that Republican deserve credit for, and ensures Republicans will have a voice in legislative policymaking over the next two years. In 2010, the last "GOP wave" election, Colorado Republicans similarly won a single-seat majority in one chamber of the Colorado legislature–that time winning the House by under 200 votes.

The other side of the coin is that Democrats have held the governor's race, the state House, and came up less than 900 votes short of holding both chambers of the legislature in one of the worst election years for Democrats anyone can remember. This too is the result of enormous effort by Democrats that should be acknowledged. The second midterm election with a Democratic President at the low point of his popularity, Republicans and pundits widely recognized 2014 to be the last best chance of crushing the decade-old "Colorado Model" that led to Democratic dominance for so many elections. And for all the accolades Republicans deservedly get for toppling Mark Udall, and again taking one chamber of the state legislature by one seat, this election simply was not the wipeout for Democrats that it was in many other states. The "Colorado Model" remains very much in business.

Laura Waters Woods

Laura Waters Woods

As for the Colorado Senate, Democrats' narrow and unexpected (at least by some) loss in SD-24 may not even be the race that matters in the long run. While all eyes have been focused on Adams County the last few days, the SD-19 race in Jefferson County between apparent winner Republican Laura Waters Woods and Democrat Rachel Zenzinger quietly narrowed to only 689 votes. This result may prove more important to long-term control of the Senate for several reasons–the biggest being that Sen.-elect Waters Woods doesn't get a full term. Woods is right back up for election in 2016 to realign the seat with its normal interval, which is being up in presidential years.

This means that for the next two years, all eyes are now squarely on Woods–instantly the most vulnerable member of a brittle Republican majority. Woods' primary victory over establishment-favored Republican Lang Sias, backed by the hard-right Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, could very easily come back to haunt the GOP in the next election. Woods won this seat by roughly the same number of votes that Evie Hudak did in 2012. Assuming she becomes the fringe-right firebrand most expect her to be in the Senate, she will be a much richer target than Sias would ever have been.

In any event, the last few days' experience in Adams County should convince everyone to stop writing in Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny as candidates in uncontested local races. Okay? It gums up the works more than it's worth in giggles.

67 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    So… Dems have House and Guv. R's have Sen by a hair. Not too shabby for Colorado Dems in an R wave. AC gets to dance but not too much for too long. Have fun, AC.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      BC, Thanks.  

      I thought Carroll's "concession" per the update was classless and does not speak well of her ability to work across the aisle.

      How about congratulations.  We look forward to working with the republican majority to make Colorado even a better place to live and raise a family.

      Would that have hurt too much?

      • Andrew Carnegie says:

        Interesting take from Wellington Webb, and much more humble, per the DP:

        A week before the election, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb sounded an alarm: Unless Democrats stepped up their game in the waning days, they were in danger of suffering huge losses.

        "There was no passion among our base," Webb said. "Contrary to some of the neophytes in the party, I know how to read a map and I know how to read numbers. And the numbers were coming in low from some of our traditionally heavy precincts."

        Final-minute, ballot-chasing efforts helped stave off a total disaster. Despite the wave, the state House stayed Democrat, the state Senate was lost by only one seat and Hickenlooper avoided the distinction of being the first elected Colorado governor since 1962 to be canned by voters.


        "I've got to compliment the Republicans," Webb said. "They did a better job than us on the ground. We normally excel in our ground game."

    • zenarcade says:

      True, but how unfortunate that the first thing the Democratic caucus talks about doing is working to "block."  Have they learned nothing?


      With a Democratic House and a Democratic governor (well, at least in name), the GOP Senate won't be able to do anything by itself.  Hopefully the legislature won't pass any more "feel-good" legislation like the magazine restriction.  While the gun nut lobby may have lost both recall seats, Democrats underestimate the motivating effect the gun bills had on getting the GOP base out to vote.  And for what?  A series of bills that will do nothing to prevent or reduce gun violence.  

  2. bullshit! says:

    Bruised but not beaten, damn right. We have lessons to learn from Udall's failure, but we need to remember that Democrats stopped this from becoming much worse in Colorado. The media will get around to acknowledging this, too late for the spin to have set in though.

    For example, Hickenlooper's win margin is now bigger than Gardner's. What wave again, GOPers?

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    Udall's campaign was uninspiring with an obsolete playbook from 2010.  He had a positive economic message to deliver but will be remember for his disastrous foray into social issues mud slinging.  Bennett should be smart enough to figure out a better message by 2016.

    Hickenlooper lost the Stoner vote with his 'reckless' comments but recovered enough to deliver a lethal shot at the gun fetish idolaters.  Coupled with the defeat of the two recall idolaters, Woods is going to be looking over her shoulders for the next two years.  The bulls eye is on her.

    Dems had good candidates but problems with the messaging.  All the achievements of 2013 and 2014 are going to be secure from this session and Hickenlooper and Dems might be in a very good position to do more big things in the 2017/2018 session.

    • NotHopeful says:

      Mark Udall won every Front Range county except Larimer, though his win in JeffCo was narrow to say the least. I think some of this has to do with a much-improved GOP ground game – see the article in today's New York Times on that – and the fervor of the pro-gun activists who were pushing for Woods and the other Republican state senate candidates there.

      Clearly, though, Mark made a mistake – a huge one – by not emphasizing the many accomplishments of the administration. If he had talked up how the ACA is helping people, how the economy is a bit better and how it could be further improved with a higher minimum wage and support for innovative new industries like green tech and renewable energy, how he had fought for our privacy and our public lands, how we are not in a Middle Eastern war . . .

      But he didn't. Unfortunately, too many Democrats are simply too afraid to speak proudly about being a Democrat. They should not have run from Obama. They should, instead, have invited him here to Colorado and elsewhere to make his case. There's enough people who are open to at least listening that this could have made a difference.

      Gardner won by a little more than two percentage points. He barely got 48 percent of the vote statewide. In other words, he did not so much as win the race as Udall lost it.

      So now is the time to think about who can be positioned to take him on in 2020. My hope is that Morgan Carroll will run for Coffman's seat in 2016, win, and then take on Gardner that year. If we can find a race for Joe Neguse, that would be great, too, because that guy has enormous potential.

      • Big Time says:

        How can pro gun advocates on the one hand be given credit for getting Udall ousted while on the other hand not being able to oust the guy who actually signed the Colorado gun laws?

        Doesn't add up. 

        Smells like a lazy Times reporter going for some low hanging fruit that will create controversy and therefor readers.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          The gang that couldn't shoot straight . . . ??

          • Big Time says:

            That's a better story – the gunners picked up some seats, lost others, it was basically a wash for them.

            And in a massive GOP wave year, the best they can do is eek out a wash?

            That's horrible and says a lot about how Colorado voters can see right through the RMGO amped up trash talking.

            RMGO is basically a place to solicit donations that make its founder a tidy sum and a few opportunistic candidates here and there, but I don't see much in the way of real results for those who donate. Suckers?

            Reminds me of  the NRA hype machine that says "Dems are coming for you guns" and then everyone runs out an empties their wallets into the gun industry's coffers. 

            Colorado voters have spoken on the feared "liberal gun grab" and they said – "Meh"

        • FrankUnderwood says:

          Logic is not their strong suit.

      • Andrew Carnegie says:

        NH, The Dems have a pretty thin bench.

        Hick is the only statewide office holder.  Maybe Polis would be interested.  He is the only congressman you have with any chops.

        I got it.  Why don't you run someone whose highest office was school board, just like you did in CD-4, and get less than 30% of the vote, just like you did in CD-4.

        If Polis does not run that may be what you are left with.

        • Big Time says:

          Did Bennet resign after witnessing the great wave of 2014 and concluded he is toast in 2016, so why bother?

        • DavidThi808 says:

          I'd like to see Jared as Governor. And maybe someday as President. I agree with what he does, and what he focuses on, most of the time. And I think he would be a very competent administrator.

        • FrankUnderwood says:

          The Dem bench for '18 for governor:  Morgan Carroll, Ed Perlmutter (whom IIRC, took out a right winger nut in a GOP-leaning state senate district in the mid '90's), Jared Polis (who would be able to self-finance any statewide race), Joe Garcia, Ken or John Salazar.

          The Repub bench for '18:    Both Ways, Tancredo, Gessler (yes, Moddy, Honey Badger does have a future), Gardner (if he gets bored with DC, returns home, gets elected governor and then gets to appoint Tipton, Lamborn, Buck or Coffman to finish his senate term), Bill Cadman, Dr. Chaps, or Laura Water Woods.

          I like the Dems' bench better…….

          • PERA hopeful says:

            I have a theory about Gessler: He didn't expect to be elected SoS, when he got the job he didn't want it, and he doesn't ever want to hold elected office again.  When he was just Lawyer Gessler, he made money and was respected.  As soon as he was elected, his every move was subject to scrutiny and scorn, all for a bargain basement salary.  Why would he want to run for governor, where he would have more scrutiny and scorn (and responsibility) in return for another bargain basement salary?  He ran a losing campaign for governor because it was a semi-graceful way to get out of public life, and he's never going to run for office again.

        • ZMulls says:

          Polis the ONLY Dem Congressman with chops?  I'd say Perlmutter is on that list, too.  I don't think he'll run for Senate in 2020, though–which is too bad, as he (politically) is a streetfighter.

        • Colorado Pols says:

          Republicans had a really thin bench, and they used the whole thing in 2014. Gardner was the bench.

          2020 may only be 6 years away, but in politics that's en eternity. You can speculate on 2016 and even 2018, but two political cycles can completely change the makeup of any bench. Six years ago Gardner was a minority member in the State House, for example.

        • Arvadonian1 says:

          Perlmutter might be interested, and considering he's held the one, true swing district in Colorado for the past several years, I'd say he has an excellent shot at it, and as much as I like Polis, Perlmutter is likely more electable statewide than him.

          By the way, CD 4 was drawn to elect a Republican..the only way a republican loses there is if you are a total nut case (see Musgrave, Marilyn).

  4. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Both the House and the Senate ended up close.  Perhaps that is why it is considered a purple state.  No more strictly partisan legislation is probably good for Dems, too.

    • Big Time says:

      That's one way to look at it – the other is to ask yourself, how could the Colorado GOP not take advantage of a massive GOP in 2014, similar to missing out on a massive wave in 2010. 

      It really seems the GOP wave just can't reach up to 5280, the wave sort slides up the beach a little and recedes quickly. It certainly does not crash across the state. 

  5. Tazistan Jen says:

    I am impressed with how many state house and senate seats are very close.  The Repubs might be complaining about gerrymandering, but it seems clear to me that Colorado is one of the least Gerrymandered states.

    • The realist says:

      The Reapportionment Commission process is far from perfect – and not free of politics – but it's probably better than any alternative (except perhaps some random process yet to be designed).

  6. Nate_ says:

    Why would someone vote for Gardner AND Hickenlooper? It really mystifies me…

    • MichaelBowman says:

      ….lots and lots of Republicans who would have voted for Gessler had he been the candidate.  BWB was just a bridge to far for moderates (at least the ones I know).

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      I know two hard core Republicans who are from the economic wing of the party and they liked Hickenlooper's pro-business background and approach but would never ever vote for the Boulder liberal Udall.  The other possibility is that modierate Republicans learned the lesson of Dan Maes and refused to support a loser and louse.  Gardner seemed moderate compared to Beauprez or Udall.

    • Early Worm says:

      I would agree that there is no rational reason to vote for Gardner and Hickenlooper on policy grounds. But I think a lot of independent voters vote with their gut, based on their perception of competence, likability, or some other difficult to quantify trait. Like him or not, Hickenlooper has shown that he is capable, Beauprez is a disaster waiting to happen. Gardner is difficult to pin down, (some may even say dishonest), but he has undeniable political charisma. There was a fairly recent two term president nicknamed "slick willy." People knew what they were getting, but still voted for him. Gardner has similar political appeal, and Udall does not.

    • BlueCat says:

      Hick has always gotten lots of Republican votes so, not surprising. Some may have voted all R but made an exception for Chamber type friendly Hick, which would explain that split .Same was true of Ken Salazar. Rock solid R friend of ours in the oil industry voted for Ken back in the day but not for any other other Dems that year.

  7. ElliotFladen says:

    Divided government is a good thing.  This will mean an opportunity for bipartisan good-government bills not to get sent directly to kill committee for both Senate/House.

  8. MooMooMoo0 says:

    So what's the count?

    Hick 50, Beauprez 46

    Udall 46, Gardner 48 

    House 34-31

    Senate 17-18

    Gardner won Larimer by 500 votes? 

  9. BlueCat says:

    My. Did this have to be one of the Republicans who made it?  The national media is having tons of fun with it.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      I say, "It's damn well about time."  Colorado Springs has worked incredibly hard and deserves it's full recognition for becoming the world-class laughingstock we know it to be.

    • NotHopeful says:

      Klinginshit . . . oops, Klingenschmitt . . . will succeed LameBrain in Congress. The guy is a perfect example of the ideal Colorado Springs politician.

      • mamajama55 says:

        I don't think so…he'll become a national embasrassment, and hence, unelectable to further office, even in El Paso County.  While Klingenrchmitt is ambitious, and a true believer seeking to expand his pulpit, he has no filter – truly does not get that, in becoming an elected official, he is representing a diverse constituency, not merely the subscribers to his evangelistic youtube channel.

        He demonstrates contempt daily for the separation of church and state – but he's going to keep obliterating that line.

        Many words will be written mocking Klingenschmitt, on this forum and others, and when his two years is up, he'll retire to found a minor church and froth at the mouth about the gays, Muslims, and whomever else he has decided is possessed by demons and victimizing true Christians.

        • MapMaker says:

          Mama, I really wish you were right. But Klingenschmitt represents national Republican values. Just look at who else they elected this year.


          James Langford(OK) will fix our national budget problems with prayer and the bible.

          Michael Peroutka(MD) Christian Reconstructionist, neo-Confederate. Civil Rights are “Make Believe”.

          Mike Fair (SC), creationist.

          Gary Glenn(MI) wants all gay people in jail.


          Not to mention the cretins already in govennment.


          Michelle Bachmann(R-Crazyeyes). Thankfully leaving under investigation.

          James Inhofe, climate and science denier, head of the science committee.

          Ted Cruz, ditto Inhofe, head of the space committee.

          John McCain, more wars, more wars.


          I'm sure you can add many more to the list.


          It will be argued that these people were elected and, therefore, represent their constituents. I'm one who is simply appalled that anyone shares these imbecile's views. But they do.


          Republicans stand for:



          Religious intolerance.

          Science denial.

          All the while sucking Koch.

          They make America look very ugly.


          Ask anyone who voted for a Republican if they support Dr. (assless) Chaps. They'll say something like “Well I don't support all his views, But he wants to lower taxes. After all, wars are free. I'd rather have him than someone sane.”.

          We may not see him running for president, but he does represent the “soul” of the Republican Party. He could ably represent the voters of Lamborn's district.

          • Andrew Carnegie says:


            You are an idiot.

            Do you seriously believe Republicans stand for the crap you say they stand for?

            There are idiots that get elected from both parties.  But the parties do not stand for all that they believe in.

            As the Dem party was founded on Racism, Bigotry and Intolerance, would it be fair to say that is what is still stands for?

            The Dems have their fair share of whack jobs and it appears that you may be among them, but I do not ascribe to all of them your obvious failings.

            • dustpuppy says:

              Your Republicans are doomed.

              It'll be a teabagger vs mainstream Republican war.

              Cruz vs McConnell.

              Boehner vs whoever the teabagger du jour is…

              It'll be nothing passed and lots of accusations and ethics committee meetings….. and eventual explusions of many Teabaggers who do not belong in Senate. That includes one Cory Gardner.

            • MapMaker says:

              OK, AC, if you happened to be in Klingenschmitt's district, would you have voted for him or Fornander? Would he have been unhinged enough for you to vote against him, maybe even vote for a third party candidate?


              I'm not basing my views on 50 year old history, I'm basing it on the people Republicans have elected this year. Yes, 50 years ago Democrats in the south, also known as Dixiecrats, were the party of racism and bigotry. Then Democrats in the north, as well as responsible Republicans, voted in the civil rights acts. The Dixiecrats then became Republicans. Ever hear of The Southern Strategy?


              Have I misrepresented the views of James Langford, Michael Peroutka, Mike Fair, Gary Glenn, Michelle Bachmann, James Inhofe, Ted Cruz or John McCain? These are people who your party elected this year or are current office holders. Again, these are elected officials, not the increasingly vile media personalities like Richard Land (no more judicial appointments), Rick Wiles (Obama will be the worst mass murderer in history), Glen Beck (buy gold), Tucker Carlson (Obama is using race to divide the country), Dave Daubenmire (Obama's a sociopath like Dahlmer and Gacy) and, of course, Limbaugh (the Republicans only job is to block Obama).


              Why can't I make the connection between the views of people you elected and the views of those who elected them?


              Since you've seen fit to tone patrol upthread, please keep the personal insults down.

              • Andrew Carnegie says:

                I am not in Klingenschmitt's district.  I did not vote for him.

                Did you know that David Pryor wrote lamenting the actions of the Republican president for desegregated the Little Rock schools?  That Dem Senator finally lost reelection last week.

                Would you have voted for him?

                What about the Klansman, Robert Byrd.  He was your guy until he passed away a few years back.  

                Would you have voted for him?

                Would I vote for Ted Cruz?  Yes.

                Would I vote for James Imhofe? Yes.

                Would I vote for John McCain? No.

                would I vote for Harry Reid? No.

                Would I vote for Mark Udall? No.

                I do not vote for people who I think are racists, bigots, senile or idiots.  I also don't vote for people who lie to me and insult my intelligence. I did not vote for any Democrats this year.  I have in the past, but not this year.

                Map, I do not use vulgarity.  "sucking Koch"?  How charming.  Your previous post was idiotic.  You can't ascribe the views of a successful candidate who received a few thousand votes to tens of millions of people who did not vote for him.

                • Old Time Dem says:

                  Pryor did not lament desegregation.   Your ability to buy into any and every right-wing lie is astounding.

                  • FrankUnderwood says:

                    Mark Pryor did not decry Ike’s desegregation order in the ’50’s. He wasn’t born until 1962. For a librarian, AC is pretty stupid.

                    • Andrew Carnegie says:

                      Reading still a challenge Frank?

                      He wrote lamenting the actions.  Didn't say he was alive in the 50's and wrote in the 50's about it.

                      Here's what he wrote:

                      “Arkansas has been invaded unwillingly twice. Once in reality and once figuratively,” wrote Pryor.

                      “The Civil War provided the real invasion. The figurative invasion took place in 1957 at Little Rock Central High School. That event took a local problem out of the local authorities’ hands. The federal government had again forced its will on the people of Arkansas.”

              • NotHopeful says:

                Hey, I haven't said anything about the tone of others!

                I would have voted for Lois Fornander, of course. I'm a Democrat. But even if I wasn't, I am also intelligent. And I don't see how anyone with a brain that is even partially functional could vote for a guy like Klinginshit.

            • alcat says:

              AC, honestly not trying to troll, but (and I'll concede that I may be seeing this thru blue colored glasses) please name/cite the D whack jobs you were referring to.

              I just don't see the level of whack job on the D side…

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Indeed he did. My only disappointment is the GOP caucus didn’t elect him minority leader. That’s the face of the GOP in CO!

  10. FrankUnderwood says:

    Cadman is in line to be new senate prez.  Morgan Carroll will presumably be next minority leader.  Regrettably, DelGrosso and not Dr. Chaps will be the House minority leader.  Anyone know who will be speaker and majority leader?

    • We don't entirely know who will have a vote yet, but Hullinghorst very likely for speaker.

      • dustpuppy says:

        No. One Republican will cross and declare himself a Democrat and giving back the Senate to the Dems.


        It will happen. Ethics demands it.

        • mamajama55 says:

          Yeah, puppy.  That will happen when Klingenschmitt comes to work in a dress – maybe with a nice floral print hijab –  and tearfully apologizes for all the crap he put LGBT folks through over the years.

          Accompanied on kazoo by demons from the frozen ninth circle of hell.

          • Progressicat says:

            MJ55, apparently you have been afflicted with a demon of snark.  I would e-mail Dr. Chaps immediately so that he can cast it out.  **Warning: projectile vomiting may occur**

    • The realist says:

      I'm looking forward to all the Repubs who get named leaders, committee chairmen, etc in the Senate. They'll be center stage and their faults will be that much more visible. Baumgardner to chair Transportation? Whaddya think? Before the election, rumor was that Beauprez – if elected – was going to appoint him to head CDOT.


  11. Diogenesdemar says:

    Let's see — Cadman running the senate, a new crop of inbred Dudley controlled family members, and now this:

    . . . anyone see a pattern of dots here?  Want to take a guess at what the CoRMGOPnutters are gonna' be pushing in terms of bills right out of the gate??

  12. Larry says:

    For those in the know, with a 689 vote margin, is that a compelling case for a Zenzinger rematch in 2016? Or will the party look for another challenger?

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