Democrat Wilson is Dist. 61 winner

A final count from the Garfield County Clerk’s Office on Wednesday was enough to put Democrat Roger Wilson over the top in his three-way race for House District 61 seat in the Legislature.

The race pitted Wilson against Republican Luke Korkowski and independent Rep. Kathleen Curry, who mounted a write-in campaign as a result of leaving the Democratic Party last year. She left the party too late to get her name on this year’s ballot.

Vote tallies on Election Day had Wilson with a 495-vote lead, and provisional ballots increased the Glenwood Springs Democrat’s margin by more than 600 votes.

Curry, who was seeking her fourth and final term in office, forced the matter into court after about 2,000 ballots came in from voters who didn’t appear to have chosen any of the three.

The Gunnison legislator said she thought many voters had written in her name but failed to check the box next to it. As a result, elections officials in the five counties in the district — Garfield, Gunnison, Eagle, Pitkin and Hinsdale — were forced to count each one by hand.

The count of those so-called under votes netted Curry 304 more votes, but not enough to catch up to Wilson. Korkowski had conceded the race soon after the Nov. 2 election, saying that a count of those votes would do him little good.

As a result, Wilson wins it with 34.5 percent of the vote to Curry’s 33.4 percent. Korkowski, a Crested Butte attorney, received 32 percent.

“I am gratified that the process has worked and that the voters’ choice is clear to all,” Wilson said in a statement.

Neither candidate could be reached for a comment Wednesday, but Andy Kabza, executive director of the House Majority Project, a Democratic group working on Wilson’s behalf, said Curry had called Wilson to concede the race.

“Before the under vote started to be tallied, Roger took a 602-vote lead because of the provisional ballots,” Kabza said. “Four out of the five counties had gone through the under votes to tally more Kathleen Curry votes, and they found 210.”

The final county to release its count, Garfield, found another 94 votes for Curry, giving Wilson the win by 309 votes.

That win will not affect which party controls the House.

Republicans have a 33-32 advantage, but Democrats are hoping one race in Jefferson County will flip the majority in their favor. There, Republican Robert Ramirez is leading Democratic Rep. Debbie Benefield by 208 votes. Final vote totals after the count of provisional and military ballots are expected to be released later today or Friday.


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