Colorado Election Results Open Thread

UPDATE (11:25): The big Denver paper and many of the other big TV stations have some major problems with their reporting. The Denver Post, for example, had Buck ahead of Bennet 48-46, on the strength of a 52-45 advantage in Boulder. A quick check of the Boulder Clerk and Recorder’s website has Bennet leading Buck 67-29. There are a lot of somebodies who should have caught this immediately — there’s no way Boulder County would go solid red for any Republican.

We recommend sticking with the results from Fox 31, which not only has a page that seems to actually load correctly, but isn’t making any obvious errors that we can see.


UPDATE (11:16): It looks like we may be headed for at least one state legislative recount. In HD-29, Democratic Rep. Debbie Benefield trails Republican Robert Ramirez by 148 votes (50.34% to 49.66%).


UPDATE (11:12): That didn’t last long. With 56% of ballots counted, Bennet and Buck are now tied at 47-47.


UPDATE (11:00): Buck has pulled ahead of Bennet for the first time tonight, leading 49-46 with 49% of precincts reporting.


UPDATE (9:50): It’s looking like the race that will have the biggest impact from an ACP candidate will not be the one anybody expected. The Secretary of State race is neck-and-neck, but the ACP candidate is already pulling 6% of the vote. Buescher may well win this seat by virtue of the American Constitution Party.


UPDATE (9:44): The percentage of precincts reporting continues to rise, and Michael Bennet continues to hold a 50-45 lead over Ken Buck. This is not good news for Buck, because early returns should have favored him (Republicans voted in higher numbers than Democrats in early and absentee voting). Given Buck’s numerous gaffes in the last two weeks of the campaign, it’s not likely that late voters are going to choose him over Bennet, so it’s hard to see how Buck is going to make up 5 points with 27% of the vote already tallied.


UPDATE (9:08): It’s always fun to see those really early returns that show absurd numbers. In HD-22, Democrat Christine Radeff is pummeling Republican incumbent Ken Summers 7,875 to 12. Yes, 12. For a few more minutes, anyway.


UPDATE (9:05): Republican Cory Gardner is being declared the winner in CD-4.


UPDATE (9:03): The Secretary of State race is coming down to the wire, and may be decided by the number of votes pulled in by the American Constitution Party candidate. Meanwhile, the race for Attorney General seems to be widening in favor of incumbent John Suthers.


UPDATE (9:00): Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter has been declared the winner in CD-7.


UPDATE (8:38): The old adage that Jefferson County decides statewide elections is largely holding form. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, unofficially, are doing better in Jefferson County, as is John Suthers. Cary Kennedy and Walker Stapleton are neck-and-neck in Jeffco, while Scott Gessler leads Bernie Buescher in the large west Denver suburb.


UPDATE (8:35): Ladies and gentlemen, your next Governor…John Hickenlooper! The race has been called for Hick. Now the excitement turns to whether or not Dan Maes can cross the 10% threshold. From a Hickenlooper press release:

Colorado voters on Tuesday elected John Hickenlooper, a brewpub pioneer turned Mayor of Denver, as the 42nd Governor of Colorado.

“I am humbled and honored by the decision Colorado’s voters have made, and I accept the challenge you have entrusted to me to lead our state as Governor,” Hickenlooper said. “This is not the end of our journey. This is the beginning. And it starts with bringing people together.”


UPDATE (8:20): Here’s a couple of developing stories to watch. All of this can change, of course, but as of right now…

  • Bennet maintaining early lead on Buck

  • Hickenlooper holding early lead for Governor

  • Tipton well ahead of Salazar in CD-3

  • Kennedy surprisingly strong in Treasurer race

  • Buescher may be saved by ACP candidate for SOS

  • Third party turnout not yet playing role in CD-4

  • Attorney General race staying close

  • Every major ballot measure getting crushed

  • Both Rep. Diana DeGette (CD1) and Jared Polis (CD2) have been declared winners already
  • —–

    We’ll update results as we can. In the meantime, please keep them updated, with links, in the comments below.

    *NOTE: Candidates in bold and italics have been declared the winner by at least one local news outlet.


    Michael Bennet (D): 47%

    Ken Buck (R): 47%

    56% reporting


    John Hickenlooper (D): 51%

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): 37%

    Dan Maes (R): 11%

    48% reporting


    Cary Kennedy (D): 51%

    Walker Stapleton (R): 49%

    44% reporting


    John Suthers (R): 57%

    Stan Garnett (D): 43%

    44% reporting


    Bernie Buescher (D): 44%

    Scott Gessler (R): 50%

    Amanda Campbell (ACP): 6%

    44% reporting


    John Salazar (D): 45%

    Scott Tipton (R): 50%

    63% reporting


    Betsy Markey (D): 41%

    Cory Gardner (R): 53%

    Doug Aden (ACP): 5%

    Ken “Wasko” (I): 1%

    69% reporting


    Ed Perlmutter (D): 53%

    Ryan Frazier (R): 42%

    16% reporting

    You Knew They’d Hit The Wrong Markey Eventually

    UPDATE #2: Rep. Ed Markey (the Democrat from Massachusetts — the male Markey) chimes in with his own quote:

    “As the other Markey in Congress, I’ve always admired and respected Betsy’s intelligence and political independence. The fact is, we don’t always vote the same way, and we don’t even look alike! I’m wondering whether all of the attacks Cory Gardner has levied against Betsy over the last several months were based on a fundamental confusion over exactly which Markey he is trying to attack.”


    UPDATE: We’ve created this handy-dandy tool that allows you to quickly figure out which Markey you are trying to discuss — Ed or Betsy (just trying to do our civic duty!):


    That’s the new ad up from CD-4 GOP candidate Cory Gardner, attacking incumbent Betsy Markey–one little, well actually not so little problem, is likely to see it pulled pretty quickly. Betsy Markey voted against the Obama administration’s 2010 budget along with a number of other “Blue Dogs,” Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is the Markey in Congress who voted for the budget. Rep. Markey’s (that is, Betsy Markey of Colorado) release follows, says spokesman Ben Marter, “Rep. Gardner’s new attack ad is lousy with the same already-debunked lies and misleading claims, but if there were degrees of ‘false’, this one takes the cake.” And our favorite quote from the release: “Colorado deserves better than Gardner’s half-baked hit jobs,” added Marter. “Frankly, Massachusetts deserves better too.”

    We’ll be honest, we were expecting this mistake–but we thought one of the innumerable 527s glomming onto this race would have made it, not Cory Gardner’s campaign itself. It is kind of sloppy; two weeks from the election, this can’t be the first time they’ve run afoul of the wrong Markey.

    This is one of the main reasons we’ve always maintained that Markey has a better-than-prognosticated chance at holding onto her seat. Gardner’s campaign has made so many unforced errors that all add up to a big problem in a close race. This latest ad is a perfect example; this silly, stupid, preventable error is going to lead to news stories that point out the fact that Markey voted against the Obama budget in 2010.

    This line about Markey opposing Obama’s budget would not have been written about otherwise, but thanks to Gardner’s bumble, voters across CD-4 are going to hear, once more, that Markey might not be the lock-step Democratic voter that Gardner wants to portray her to be. Some of those voters might also start to question whether other parts of Gardner’s ads have been falsely attributed to that other Markey guy. That’s a pretty harmful blow to Gardner’s overall narrative.


    Tuesday, October 19th, 2010






    Rep. Gardner doesn’t do his homework, misfires badly

    FORT COLLINS-Representative Cory Gardner’s latest negative attack ad, his third in two weeks, criticizes Colorado’s Betsy Markey for a vote taken by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

    Watch the ad here:…

    The new ad accuses Markey (that’s Betsy Markey) of voting for “the most fiscally irresponsible budget in history.” However, Betsy Markey voted against the President’s FY 2010 Budget for just that reason. Markey (Betsy) felt the proposed budget was far too large, and did not include deep enough spending cuts from each of the federal departments.

    “Rep. Gardner’s new attack ad is lousy with the same already-debunked lies and misleading claims, but if there were degrees of ‘false’, this one takes the cake,” said Markey (Betsy)’s campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “I would point Rep. Gardner to a site on the ‘internet’ to research his claims a little better: If Rep. Gardner can’t figure out how this whole voting system works, how can he be trusted to actually read bills?”

    The two citations used in the attack on Markey (Betsy)’s vote on the FY 2010 Budget are Roll Call vote 192 and Roll Call vote 216.

    Roll Call 192 can be googled like this:…

    Roll Call 216 can be googled like this:…

    “Rep. Gardner has taken lying to new lows with this attack ad, and he should stop broadcasting it immediately. Colorado deserves better than Gardner’s half-baked hit jobs,” added Markey (Betsy)’s campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “Frankly, Massachusetts deserves better too.”


    New Rasmussen Poll Actually Bad News for Republicans

    From Rasmussen Reports:

    Is independent Tom Tancredo now becoming the de facto Republican candidate for governor of Colorado? He’s now moved to within four points of Democrat John Hickenlooper to turn the race into a toss-up.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Colorado finds Hickenlooper with 42% support, while Tancredo, the candidate of the American Constitution Party, earns 38% of the vote. Support for Republican Dan Maes continues to fall and now stands at 12%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.

    Less than two weeks ago, Tancredo earned 35% of the vote to Hickenlooper’s 43% and Maes’ 16%. That shifted the race from Solid Democrat to Leans Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard. Now the race moves to a Toss-Up.

    First off, we don’t believe for a second (and neither do most informed politicos in Colorado) that the governor’s race here is anything close to a toss-up. Democrat John Hickenlooper is going to be elected governor — he’s been too far ahead for too long, and he has significantly more resources than Tom Tancredo.

    But news of this poll from the notoriously right-leaning Rasmussen Reports is not actually helpful for Colorado Republicans. Tancredo is going to (rightly) tout these polling numbers as proof that he can defeat Hickenlooper, which will do two things: 1) Convince more potential Republican voters to choose Tancredo over GOP nominee Dan Maes, and 2) Give a big boost to American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden in CD-4.

    According to Rasmussen, Maes is sitting at 12% of the vote, just two points away from falling under the 10% required to cause Republicans to lose their “major party” status. More significantly, any rise for American Constitution Party candidate Tancredo makes Aden look more credible as well, and just about every vote that Aden receives is a vote that would have otherwise gone to Republican Cory Gardner in CD-4.  

    Markey Breaks Fundraising Record

    Here’s another reason why we think some national prognosticators are really off on their assessment of CD-4. From a press release from the campaign of Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey:

    Betsy Markey raised $858,000 in the third fundraising quarter of 2010, bringing her total raised to more than $3.1 million, the most ever raised cycle to date by a House candidate in Colorado history.

    “I have been humbled again and again by the huge outpouring of support for this campaign,” said Markey. “We are gaining momentum and excitement, but we’ve never taken anything for granted and we’ll continue to work harder door to door and person to person to win this campaign.”

    98% of the campaign’s 3rd Quarter donors were individuals, and a full third of total contributions came from first-time donors.

    Markey’s $3.1 million raised for this cycle is really an incredible number. For comparison’s sake, the Republican Senate candidate, Ken Buck, had raised all of $1.2 million in total through the end of July; Buck’s Q3 fundraising numbers are not yet available, but it’s quite possible that Markey will have outraised the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.

    More on The Hill’s CD-4 Poll

    In a poll released today by The Hill, 11 of 12 House Democrats are trailing Republicans, and while we can’t tell you more in the way of analyzing the results for other races, we can postulate some ideas on the CD-4 polling results. We mentioned this poll briefly in an earlier post, but the significance of these numbers are worth their own subject.

    To make it easier to read, we produced a condensed version of the initial crosstab results from The Hill polling. These results below answer the question: “If the elections for Congress were held today, which candidate would you vote for in your congressional district?”

    We’ve written before that any poll in CD4 must ask about all four candidates in order to be considered completely accurate, but any way you slice it, this is good news for Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey and bad news for Republican challenger Cory Gardner.

    The only other public poll released in CD-4 (which came in early September) showed Gardner with an 11-point lead over Markey. We questioned the accuracy of that poll, just as we question the accuracy of today’s poll, because neither included American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden nor Independent candidate Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz (more on that in a minute). But even if you forget the third-party candidates, Markey has closed the gap from being 11 points down to now being within the margin of error and behind just three points (41-44). More importantly, Markey has the advantage over Gardner with both Independent voters (43-39) and Senior Citizens (43-40). Also notable is that Markey attracts the support of 11% of Republicans, while just 2% of Democrats expressed support for Gardner.

    Now, back to that third-party thing. Colorado is showing a proclivity for voting in higher numbers for third-party candidates in 2010, and CD-4 has always been more fond of third-party choices than elsewhere in the state. If Aden and “Wasko” had been included in this poll, it’s very possible that Markey might be leading the race at this point. In fact, the only poll that included all four candidates that has been released (a Markey internal poll) showed Wasko and Aden pulling a combined 7 percent of the vote, with Markey and Gardner tied at 38 percent apiece.

    With mail ballots beginning to drop in the next week, Markey is clearly trending in the right direction. We’ve always said this race is a toss-up, but if you had to bet on it today, you’d have a hard time talking yourself into Gardner.

    Betsy Markey Gets NRA Endorsement

    The National Rifle Association (NRA) will endorse Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey in CD-4 in what is a major blow to the campaign of Republican challenger Cory Gardner, who has been trying to cast Markey as a straight-up liberal in Congress. As The National Review reports:

    Her opponent Cory Gardner’s campaign manager Chris Hansen flatly told Battle ’10, “The NRA told us they were endorsing Betsy Markey.”

    Calls to NRA-PVF regarding an imminent endorsement in CO-4 were not immediately returned. There is some consensus that the NRA’s political arm has developed an “incumbent endorsement policy” in contested, non-open seats. A source for Battle ’10 said that the rule likely is not a hard-and-fast guideline, but given two choices and an incumbent with an adequate rating, the NRA will most likely endorse that person, regardless of party…

    …Markey voted for the NRA-friendly DISCLOSE Act, which exempts large non-profits like the NRA from disclosing their donors, pending the organization’s completion of certain criteria that, in this version, favored large national groups like the NRA. Garnering only 219 votes to pass, Markey’s vote was consequential to the success of the DISCLOSE Act.

    The strangest part of this story is that it was Gardner’s campaign that essentially broke the news to the media about Markey’s pending endorsement. Good call, there, Gardner campaign manager Chris Hansen! Way to be the one to break the news that the NRA will support your opponent!

    This news comes a day after it was revealed that the NRA was endorsing Democratic Rep. John Salazar in CD-3.

    Gardner One Of Only Four in House GOP Not On Anti-60, 61, 101 Letter

    UPDATE: According to the Ft. Collins Coloradoan, Gardner really does oppose 60, 61 & 101, but he, uh, was too busy to sign the letter?

    “Cory also opposes the measures. Not sure why they didn’t ask him to sign. Probably just because we’re so busy,” campaign spokeswoman Rachel Boxer said.

    Uh, okay. We suppose it would take a lot of time to sign a letter and Republicans didn’t want to bother him. Although if we were Gardner’s spokesperson, we might have chosen a more plausible excuse, like “Cory’s dog ate it.”


    The big Denver newspaper reported today that a huge majority of Colorado Republican lawmakers have signed on to a letter opposing the “Evil Three” measures on the 2010 ballot (Amendments 60 & 61 and Proposition 101). The campaign of Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey was quick to point out that Republican State Rep. Cory Gardner, her main challenger in CD-4, was one of just four House Republicans refusing to sign the letter.

    We’re more than a bit confused as to why Gardner would not openly oppose these measures. As the press release from the Markey campaign (after the jump) points out, there is widespread opposition to 60, 61 and 101, and we don’t see how this could really benefit Gardner’s bid to unseat Markey. Again, it’s not like opposing the Evil Three is really a bold position, since most Republicans and traditional Republican allies don’t even like them. We can’t understand why Gardner would want to align himself with far-right extremists like Sen. Kevin Lundberg here, and we certainly don’t see any strategic benefit to this stance.


    Rep. Gardner one of just four House Republicans absent from letter

    FORT COLLINS-State Representative Cory Gardner earlier this year refused to sign a letter from 23 of the 27 Republican members of the Colorado House of Representatives, urging fellow Colorado Republicans to oppose Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

    Reported by the Denver Post, the Republican lawmakers wrote that, “this reaction is so far overreaching that it will ultimately kill Colorado jobs and strip local governments’ ability to provide police and fire protection and to educate our children.”

    “Representative Gardner refused to sign the letter opposing three of the most disastrous ballot measures our state has ever seen,” said Markey campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “He either supports these initiatives-that even his colleagues in the state House admit will kill Colorado jobs-or doesn’t have the guts to take a stand against them. Representative Gardner says one thing during his primary, then tries to pretend it never happened. He’s playing politics with our economic future, and Coloradans just can’t trust him.”  

    Here’s what people are saying about these three ballot measures:

    Greeley Tribune Editorial Board: “We believe the three amendments on this fall’s election ballot will kill economic growth in Colorado, cripple services provided by state and local government, and doom education funding at a time when it already is dismally low.” [Greeley Tribune 09/05/10]

    Denver Post Editorial Board: “The operating language within each one is a virus that would cripple the ability of our local and state governments to provide the most basic of services – from building schools for our children to supplying clean water to our homes.” [Denver Post 07/07/10]

    Loveland Chamber of Commerce President: Amendments “Will Do More Devastation than Good.” On September 12, 2010 the Coloradoan reported that Brian Williams, president and CEO of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce said, “We are opposed to wasteful spending, we are in strong support of TABOR but in this case the initiatives that are trying to address wasteful government spending are going about it the wrong way. Ultimately, they will do more devastation than good.” The chamber board ultimately voted to oppose the three measures, as did the Fort Collins and Greeley chambers. [Coloradoan, 9/12/10]

    Local Republicans Pledged Opposition to Measures. On September 13, 2010 the Denver Post reported that, “A flood of Republicans at the local government level have pledged their opposition to the initiatives, including more than half of Republican county commissioners in Colorado.” [Denver Post, 9/13/10]

    Business sector strongly opposes ballot measures: On September 12, 2010 the Coloradoan reported that “Opponents, including many local business owners, say the measures threaten jobs and could result in a voter-approved recession exacerbating an already slow economic recovery.” [Fort Collins Coloradoan, 09/12/10]

    Republican Senator Greg Brophy: Amendments Go Beyond Limited Government. On September 13, 2010 the Denver Post reported on the ballot initiatives that would “slash billions in state and local taxes.”  Republican State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Way) said he couldn’t support the initiatives, saying “I consider myself an advocate of limited government and these could very well go beyond where I’m comfortable.” [Denver Post, 9/13/10]

    Markey, Gardner Tied in GOP-Leaning Poll

    As The Ft. Collins Coloradoan reports:

    Democrat Betsy Markey and Republican Cory Gardner are in a dead heat with less than eight weeks until Election Day, according to a poll released today by the Markey campaign.

    The poll is a stark contrast to one released last week by a Republican-affiliated group, which showed Gardner with an 11 point lead.

    The Markey campaign poll showed her and Gardner with 38 percent each, independent Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz at 5 percent and American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden at 2 percent. The remaining 17 percent were undecided.

    We wrote last week that any poll in CD-4 that does not include all four candidates cannot be considered accurate, and these numbers prove our point (not to mention the most recent U.S. Senate poll in Colorado, which showed the Libertarian candidate getting 5% of the vote). As we said before, CD-4 has a history of voting for third-party candidates, and national trends are showing disgust with both Democrats and Republicans. Third-party candidates are going to play a significant role in 2010 as a “protest vote” option for many voters. We wrote last week that internal polling from both the Markey and Gardner campaigns had shown third-party candidates receiving as much as 12% of the vote when respondents had a choice between all four candidates; the Markey poll has the total third-party vote at 7%, but that’s likely because they sampled a smaller percentage of Unaffiliated voters.

    While critics will say that the Markey poll must be biased because it is an internal poll, it’s hard for that argument to get much traction given the significant oversample of Republicans. This poll sampled 50% Republicans and 37% Democrats, compared to 44% Republicans and 36% Democrats in last week’s Republican-ordered poll.  

    New CD-4 Poll is Swell…If You Don’t Care About Accuracy

    Lost in the hubbub about the Dan Maes for Governor saga was a story about the first public poll in CD-4, which Republicans have breathlessly used to claim that GOP candidate Cory Gardner is going to easily defeat Democratic incumbent Rep. Betsy Markey.

    The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported on the poll this morning, blindly restating the polling memo message that Gardner is outpolling Markey 50-39. Sounds bad for Markey, right?

    The problem with the poll, done for the newly-formed Republican “think tank” American Action Forum, is that the results are based on a two-person race in CD-4. Of course, there are four candidates in CD-4, including American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden and Independent candidate Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz.

    From what we understand, every other internal poll, done either by campaigns or outside groups, has polled on a four-way race, and the results are dramatically different because Aden and “Wasko” combine for as much as 12% of the vote. This isn’t at all surprising, given that Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness grabbed 11% of the vote in CD-4 in 2006, in a three-way race with Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and Democrat Angie Paccione. Common sense says that Aden and Wasko take the majority of their votes away from Gardner, because they are more closely aligned ideologically to a Republican candidate than a Democrat — and because Markey’s high name ID means that most people have probably made up their minds about her already.

    Saying that Gardner is well ahead of Markey in a two-way race is as pointless as those Gubernatorial polls showing that Dan Maes does better against Democrat John Hickenlooper if ACP candidate Tom Tancredo is not in the race. Sure he does. He probably also kicks ass in a poll in which neither Hickenlooper or Tancredo are mentioned. So what? That’s not the makeup of the actual ballot that people will use in six weeks, so none of these hypothetical matchups mean squat. American Action Forum might as well show us how Gardner does in a head-to-head matchup with Aden — that would be equally irrelevant.

    If you still don’t believe that this poll is nonsense, consider this: If the NRCC or the Gardner campaign had poll results showing he was ahead of Markey by double digits in a four-way race, they would have fallen all over themselves trying to publicize it. But they don’t have those results. The fact that there has been no poll on this race released by anybody tells us that it is basically a toss-up, because neither Gardner nor Markey have anything to gain from releasing polling numbers to the public.

    Big Line Updated

    We’ve updated The Big Line after some admitted confusion over how we would list Tom Tancredo’s new Party affiliation. This is the first time we can remember that we’ve ever listed an American Constitution Party candidate on the line.

    Tancredo’s entry into the Governor’s race may have another unintended consequence beyond all but ensuring that Democrat John Hickenlooper is elected Governor. American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden should get a small boost in CD-4 because of all of the press that Tancredo’s new party will receive, and in a close November race, that boost could be a killer for Republican Cory Gardner’s bid to knock off Democrat Betsy Markey.

    We’ve also upped the odds for Republican Jane Norton in her bid to win the GOP nomination for Senate over Ken Buck. While Buck remains the frontrunner, he keeps screwing up just enough, while Norton adds some high-profile endorsements, that this race is tightening by the day.