Bennet wins Senate cliffhanger

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., will begin his second term in the Senate with an unblemished electoral record.

Bennet, appointed in 2009 to the Senate by Gov. Bill Ritter when Ken Salazar was appointed secretary of the interior, had never before sought elective office.

His battle against Republican challenger Ken Buck, the Weld County district attorney, continued into Wednesday morning as counting continued in the close race.

Bennet said in a statement he was grateful for the thousands of volunteers “who gave so much to our campaign, knocking on doors, making calls and working tirelessly to ensure we leave more opportunity to the next generation.”

Buck, whose candidacy was buoyed by the tea party movement, defied early odds by sticking in the race and then by defeating Jane Norton of Grand Junction for the Republican nomination. He thanked the “thousands of Coloradans who helped make this grass-roots journey possible.”

Buck noted the margin was small — Bennet led 48 percent to Buck’s 47 percent — and he wished Bennet well.

Tea party fervor carried Buck almost to victory, and his loss was disappointing, Richard Schoenradt of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance said.

The alliance, however, was “ecstatic” about Republican Scott Tipton’s victory in the 3rd Congressional District, Schoenradt said.

Despite Buck’s loss, the tea party movement isn’t going away with the result of the election in which Republicans captured the House majority and gained six seats in the Senate.

“This is an ongoing battle,” Schoenradt said. “The liberals won’t stop, so we can’t stop.”

The alliance and other tea party organizations will remain active and keep the people in office accountable, he said, adding, “It ought to be fun.”


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