Bennet, Buck locked in dead heat for Senate
The full-tilt battle for the U.S. Senate between incumbent Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck remained too close to call as it continued into the wee hours this morning.
Bennet and Buck were in a near tie as of 1 a.m., with Buck receiving 48 percent of the votes tallied to 47 percent for Bennet with 83 percent of precincts reporting, according to CNN.com.
Both sides sounded optimistic notes as the count continued into the night.
“We’re seeing a groundswell of support for Michael across the state, and that’s encouraging,” said his campaign spokesman, Trevor Kincaid. “This race is very close, but we believe that when every single vote is counted Michael will come out on top.”
Buck spokesman Owen Loftus said many votes remained to be counted and, “We’re optimistic that once those votes are counted, Ken Buck will be the next senator from Colorado.”
In Mesa County, late unofficial tallies showed Buck easily ahead of Bennet, 31,563 votes to Bennet’s 16,960.
Bennet, the former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, onetime chief of staff to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and investment chief for Philip Anschutz, is seeking his first elective office, while Buck, also a former prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney for Colorado and a tea party favorite, is running for the first time statewide.
Buck and Bennet fended off primary fights in August, but battled them from opposite perspectives. Bennet was appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter and was praised by President Obama in a conference call with supporters during his primary battle with former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.
Buck nearly walked away from a bid for the Republican nomination after Grand Junction native Jane Norton, a former lieutenant governor, announced her bid, which was backed by GOP luminaries, including former Gov. Bill Owens.
In the end, Buck defeated the establishment-backed Norton, and Bennet fended off the insurgent bid of Romanoff.