With votes out, control of Legislature in doubt
Though many in the Colorado Legislature are assuming Republicans have taken control of the House, and the Democrats lost one seat in the Senate, there’s nothing official saying that’s actually true.
As vote counts stand now, GOP candidates are leading in enough races to give them a 33-32 split in the House, giving Republicans a majority there for the first time since 2004.
Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak, however, said her party has attorneys delving into several races, two of which are within 400 votes.
“They’re still kind of chasing ballots, and it seems like they’re just doing a few at a time,” she said. “It’s taking forever, but they have to look at every single one of them.”
In the meantime, House Democrats elected a new leader who normally has the title of minority leader. But because the party is still hoping at least one of those two races will go blue after provisional ballots are counted, Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, is calling himself caucus leader instead.
“There’s still a possibility that one of these two could flip,” Pace said. “Despite the biggest national tidal wave for the GOP in Congress in 50 years, the most they could get is 33 seats in the state House and 15 in the state Senate. The voters of the state roundly accepted the policy decisions of the centrist Democratic caucus in the state Legislature.”
Meanwhile, votes in one Senate seat have turned in favor of Democrat Jeanne Nicholson for Senate District 16, which straddles the Continental Divide in central Colorado. As the count stands now, Nicholson has about 500 more votes than Republican Tim Leonard.
If that count stands, the Democrats will lose only one seat to the GOP and hold a 20-15 majority.
Another race that won’t have an impact on who’s in charge in the House, but could reduce the Democrat’s numbers there, is House District 61.
County clerks in Garfield, Gunnison, Pitkin, Eagle and Hinsdale counties are struggling with what to do with ballots that show no votes in the race that pitted Rep. Kathleen Curry running an independent write-in campaign against Democrat Roger Wilson and Republican Luke Korkowski.
Curry said there appears to be nearly 2,000 such ballots, and she only needs 492 more votes to win. Unofficial results show Wilson leading with 9,496 votes to Curry’s 9,004. Korkowski, who’s already conceded the race, got 8,892 votes.
Curry’s taken the matter to court because the Secretary of State’s Office has ruled ballots that don’t include a checked box next to a write-in name can’t be counted.
A Denver district court judge is expected to rule early next week on whether the clerks should count those ballots.