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.

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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%).

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.”

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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
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    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.

    U.S. SENATE

    Michael Bennet (D): 47%

    Ken Buck (R): 47%

    56% reporting

    GOVERNOR

    John Hickenlooper (D): 51%

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): 37%

    Dan Maes (R): 11%

    48% reporting

    STATE TREASURER

    Cary Kennedy (D): 51%

    Walker Stapleton (R): 49%

    44% reporting

    ATTORNEY GENERAL

    John Suthers (R): 57%

    Stan Garnett (D): 43%

    44% reporting

    SECRETARY OF STATE

    Bernie Buescher (D): 44%

    Scott Gessler (R): 50%

    Amanda Campbell (ACP): 6%

    44% reporting

    CD-3

    John Salazar (D): 45%

    Scott Tipton (R): 50%

    63% reporting

    CD-4

    Betsy Markey (D): 41%

    Cory Gardner (R): 53%

    Doug Aden (ACP): 5%

    Ken “Wasko” (I): 1%

    69% reporting

    CD-7

    Ed Perlmutter (D): 53%

    Ryan Frazier (R): 42%

    16% reporting

    Who Will Win the Race for Secretary of State?

    Vote after the jump.

    Remember — we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected Secretary of State?

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    Who Will Win the Race for Secretary of State?

    Vote, vote, vote!

    Don’t forget — we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected Secretary of State?

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    Who Will Win the Race for Secretary of State?

    Vote after the jump. Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected Secretary of State?

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    Fundraising Updates for State Races

    The financial reporting period for state races running between July 29 through September 1 is now available online. Here’s how the statewide candidates stack up. Keep in mind that cash-on-hand amounts are deceiving at this point, since many candidates have already spent big chunks of money to buy advertising spots (with exceptions for Dan Maes and Scott Gessler, neither of whom has a good reason for having so little left in the bank).

    Figures below as Amount Raised Last Period/ Amount Spent Last Period/ Cash-on-Hand as of Sept. 1)

    GOVERNOR

    John Hickenlooper (D): $409,859/ $357,158/ $171,542

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): $199,229/ $58,376/ $140,853

    Dan Maes (R): $50,201/ $54,011/ $19,786

    TREASURER

    Cary Kennedy (D): $102,161/ $89,189/ $90,250

    Walker Stapleton (R): $27,385/ $15,880/ $22,712

    ATTORNEY GENERAL

    John Suthers (R): $64,958/ $15,671/ $346,775

    Stan Garnett (D): $43,690/ $120,342/ $23,259

    SECRETARY OF STATE

    Bernie Buescher (D): $36,158/ $8,708/ $139,661

    Scott Gessler (R): $13,745/ $38,071/ $14,725

    Gessler Just Keeps Pissing in the Wind

    We’ve been fascinated with the campaign of Republican Secretary of State candidate Scott Gessler over the last year, but not in a good way. For most of the last 18 months, Gessler has been spending his campaign cash as fast as he can raise it; in 2009, he brought in almost $87,000 but spent an incredible 86 percent of that money.

    Gessler managed to contain himself (somewhat) in the first quarter of this year, raising $53,000 but spending only $38,000, which for Gessler just about qualifies him as Scrooge McDuck. But then there was the reporting period that ended on May 26, a one-month time frame during which Gessler brought in $16,363 but spent $18,045, most of which went to consultants and rent (hint: if you are paying consultants more money than you are raising, you might want to consider changing consultants).

    When you add it all up, since he first began his campaign in Q1 2009, Gessler has raised a solid $156,057…yet has spent $130,725, for a cash-on-hand amount today of a little over $25,000. For you math whizzes out there, that means Gessler has spent .84 cents out of every dollar raised, and we’ve only just made it to June.

    Folks, we’ve never seen a candidate, for either Party, with a consistent burn rate this high.

    Gessler has actually out-raised incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher, but while the latter has brought in abut $137,000, he still has $74,125 cash on hand. That’s just poor campaign management when you have outraised your opponent over the course of 18 months but only have a third as much money in the bank. And that’s what makes Gessler’s campaign one of the worst statewide organizations we’ve seen in the last 10 years.

    Scott Gessler’s Fundraising Black Hole

    You can say this about Scott Gessler, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State: At least he isn’t running for State Treasurer.

    We’ve wondered about Gessler and his bizarre spending habits ever since he first entered the race for Secretary of State last year. If you haven’t been following the story, through the first three quarters of 2009 Gessler managed to spend an incredible 82% of the money he raised.

    Gessler’s Q4 campaign finance report shows that he raised $19,618 in the last three months of 2009, but he also spent $19,374. You read that correctly — Gessler netted just $244 in three months.

    All told, Gessler has now raised $86,799 for his campaign and spent $74,567. He has only $12,231 in the bank after spending a whopping 86% of the money he has raised.

    For comparison’s sake, Democrat Bernie Buescher has raised $92,921 and spent $27,877 (just 30% of the total), leaving him with $65,043 cash on hand.

    Folks, we’ve never seen a legitimate candidate with a burn rate like Gessler’s. It makes you wonder how Gessler is going to continue to solicit money when donors start to realize that he’s just pissing it all away, because if Gessler can’t save enough money to advertise on television next fall, there is absolutely no way he can unseat Buescher. Donate now to Scott Gessler — for every $10 you send, almost $2 will go towards winning the election!

    This kind of fiscal irresponsibility is bad enough for a candidate for statewide office, but wait, there’s more! On the same day that he filed his Q4 finance report, he sent an email blast to supporters that, well, you just have to read it yourself. Click below to find out how electing Gessler will bring Democracy to the Middle East, or something.

    Greetings!

    The Iranian uprising is truly inspiring.  First, it proves once and for all that Muslim societies also yearn for freedom and democracy.  Second, it shows that many Muslims reject theocracy and repression.  And finally, it holds the promise of a future Iranian government no longer bent on building nuclear weapons.  

    But Obama and the Democrats are embarrassed by those Iranians seeking freedom.  In pursuit of “engagement” and “stability”, the Obama administration has continued to accept the Iranian regime, both in word and deed.  The U.S. continues to negotiate under all circumstances, still offering concessions (and legitimacy) in vain attempt to convince the Iranian regime to give up nuclear weapons.

    The result has been complete failure, and now Obama and the Democrats have placed the U.S. on the wrong side of history.

    Compare this to Ronald Reagan and Poland’s Solidarity movement.  There, the U.S. condemned the Polish government.  We provided meaningful assistance to the Poles, and we used U.S. economic clout to push for democracy.

    Why does this matter for us?  First, don’t be fooled by Democrats who talk about election integrity, but don’t stand up for it.  Fair elections are not merely talking points, and elections are not merely a path to power.  Rather, they are the cornerstone of free, prosperous, and peaceful societies.

    Second, we cannot selfishly work for fair elections while turning a blind eye to others yearning for freedom and self-governance.

    And third, democracies are less likely to go to war.  A democratic Iran will make it less likely that American boys and girls will die in the Middle East because of Iranian militarism.

    But you can help me do our part by fighting for free elections here in Colorado, by making a contribution of $25, $50, $75 or $150. [Pols emphasis]

    So next week, we’ll again turn to elections in Colorado.  But until then, remember that elections – and election integrity – are universal values.  Not merely slogans by those seeking to hold power.

    Pols Poll 2: Secretary of State

    As always, please vote based on what you think will happen, not on who you would vote for or which candidate you support personally. Think of it this way: If you had to bet the deed to your house, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected Secretary of State in 2010?

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    Pols Poll: Secretary of State

    As we’ve done in other election years, we regularly poll our readers on various races to gauge changing perceptions. These obviously aren’t scientific polls, but they do help to show how the perception of various candidates are changing. We’ll conduct these polls each month and then show the results to see how the winds are shifting.

    As always, please vote based on what you think will happen, not on who you would vote for or which candidate you support personally. Think of it this way: If you had to bet the deed to your house, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected Secretary of State in 2010?

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    Gessler Raises Little in Q2, But Spends Plenty

    Lost in the latest round of campaign finance reports (and no doubt he wishes it would stay lost) was the news that Republican Scott Gessler raised a measly $12,800 in his bid for Secretary of State.

    Gessler did manage to spend $21,569 (including a whopping $16,000 on various “consultants”), leaving him with just $6,336 cash on hand. Gessler is apparently hot on the trail of CD-4 Republicans Tom Lucero and Diggs Brown in the race to see who can bankrupt their campaigns first.

    With Republicans waging expensive primaries for both State Treasurer and Governor, there’s not going to be a lot of cash left on the table for candidates like Gessler. Unless he’s got a lot of personal money to put into his campaign, Gessler looks unlikely to mount a real challenge to incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher — and he may have spent his way into a GOP primary as well. Certainly no Republican thinking of running for SOS will be scared off by Gessler’s meager fundraising.

    Buescher Outraising Opponent

    From The Grand Junction Sentinel:

    State Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, has established a wide fundraising lead over his Republican opponent, Collbran resident Laura Bradford, according to campaign finance reports released this week.

    The reports, filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, show Buescher finished 2007 with nearly $42,000 in his campaign account.

    Bradford, who formally entered the race in October, reported having more than $6,400 on hand, including $1,000 she donated to herself.

    Bradford said this week she is pleased with her funding level and hopes to raise $15,000 more during the first three months of 2008.

    “Between cash on hand and pledges in hand, I exceeded my goal,” she said.

    According to his report, Buescher continues to draw the support of high-profile Republicans, including Republican Party stalwart and former congressional candidate Sam Zakhem, who gave Buescher $200 in October.

    Zakhem, a former state lawmaker who lives in Lakewood, served as President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Bahrain.

    Zakhem said he decided to support Buescher because of the veteran lawmaker’s bipartisanship and fiscal values.

    The conservative wing of the Mesa County Republicans are frothing at the mouth to get rid of Buescher, but they’ve got their hands full. And if Buescher does go on to win re-election, he’d likely be the favorite to be the next Speaker of the House (assuming Democrats maintain control).

    Who’s the Next House Speaker?


    From Colorado Confidential’s “Kernels of Truth”:

    If Democrats are able to maintain control of the state House in 2008, they’ll have to elect an entire new slate of officials to lead the way.

    House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Speaker Pro Tempore Cheri Jahn, Majority Leader Alice Madden and Assistant Majority Leader Michael Garcia are all term-limited, so the top job of Speaker will be up for grabs.

    One Democratic legislator, who asked to remain anonymous speaking about potential leadership changes, would handicap the potential field in this order:

    1. Rep. Bernie Buescher
    2. Rep. Jack Pommer
    3. Rep. Mike Cerbo
    4. Rep. Dorothy Butcher (the current House Majority Whip)

    As chair of the Joint Budget Committee and a well-liked member of the legislature, Buescher would seem to be an obvious choice as the next House Speaker. But that’s only if he wins his own bid for re-election in 2008.

    “Bernie’s challenge, quite frankly, is that he will always have an incredibly hard time keeping that seat,’ says the source. “In a sense, it means electing a speaker who has a built-in handicap, although you could make the case that being Speaker helps him when he’s running for re-election.”

    Leadership positions are often filled by legislators from “safe” districts. None of the current slate of officials – Romanoff, Madden, Jahn or Garcia – have been at risk of losing their bid for re-election for several cycles. Buescher is always a top target of Republicans because of his conservative Grand Junction district, while Cerbo’s seat in Denver will likely never see a serious Republican challenger.