King wins Senate District 7 seat

State Rep. Steve King grins as he talks with supporters at Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub Tuesday after the polls closed.

Claudette Konola, center,  is surrounded by supporters at Democratic headquarters in downtown Grand Junction.

In a district that heavily weighs Republican, it came as little surprise early Tuesday evening that Rep. Steve King easily won the Senate District 7 seat.

The Grand Junction Republican picked up 66 percent of the vote against his Democratic challenger, Claudette Konola, who had 30 percent.

King, who has served two terms in the Colorado House, will replace state Sen. Josh Penry, who didn’t run for re-election.

Konola, who conceded the race at about 9:30 p.m., said she called King to congratulate him on winning.

“I told him I was really proud of the fact that we ran a clean race, that we didn’t throw negative ads at each other,” she said. “I congratulated him, and I reminded him that he would be my senator, too, and that he would be hearing from me.”

King said he was pleased to be in the Colorado Senate and hoped Republicans there and in the Colorado House would be able to reach a consensus not only with Democratic legislators, but newly elected Democratic Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper on the major issues facing the state.

“I like the idea of going into the Senate and having those types of challenges,” he said. “I’m hoping that both sides have learned something from this election cycle. ... Anytime that you start getting so comfortable in office because you have a four- or five-vote majority, that’s going to come around. I hope that motivates people to reach compromises.”

Though Konola wished King good luck over his four-year term in the Senate, she said she doesn’t expect those candidates who won in any of the races Tuesday night will be much different than past elected officials.

“My expectation is that nothing will change,” she said.

King said he, too, is concerned that those candidates who won Tuesday will quickly forget why. Still, he expects this year’s anti-establishment sentiment among the voters to have more of a lasting impact.

“Both sides will push their beliefs, but also they should say we ought to have some compromise,” King said. “We are in a recession, and we have jobs issues, so we need dynamic leaders to address those critical problems. The best days are ahead of us because we have an obligation to the next generation of Coloradans to make this a better place than where we left it.”


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