Bradford looks ahead after big win
Upset in District 55 race will shake Democratic leadership in House
Collbran Republican Laura Bradford, who ousted state Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, in a contest decided by hundreds of votes, renewed her campaign promise Wednesday to be an advocate for small business in her first term.
“Obviously I’ll be on the Republican side of the aisle … and focus on small-business issues, jobs and the economy, and the gas and oil industry here,” Bradford said.
As of Wednesday morning, with nearly all of the approximately 36,000 ballots counted, Bradford had bettered Buescher by 583 votes.
Bradford said she is still in shock from her upset of the two-term incumbent.
Meanwhile, Buescher congratulated his opponent in a morning speech at the old Mesa County courthouse.
“I’ll do anything I can to help her be the most effective representative for Mesa County,” Buescher said.
Buescher’s loss in the race for the District 55 seat leaves a power vacuum for state House Democrats, many of whom anticipated Buescher would succeed outgoing Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver.
“We certainly will feel a void without Bernie, without question,” said state Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West.
She said someone will fill that void, perhaps Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver.
Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, said Buescher’s loss has injected some uncertainty heading into the House leadership elections today.
“We do have a lot of conversations that are ongoing right now regarding the new scenario that we’re in,” Curry said.
“None of us anticipated the election results in Bernie’s race.”
Curry said she plans to attempt to pick up where Buescher left off and run for the speaker of the House position.
Gov. Bill Ritter said Buescher’s loss at the polls, which he described as a “tremendous loss” for his administration, will not mark the end of Buescher’s service to the state.
“I just have a feeling that Bernie’s time and service is not concluded by that loss. … I still believe he has a lot to give,” Ritter said.