(Nov. 9) – Colorado voters held the line on Tuesday against a Republican wave that swept much of the nation. With returns still incomplete, it appeared that the Colorado House of Representatives will convene on with as many as 37 Democrats and as few as 28 Republicans, a six-seat swing toward the Democrats.
“The 2016 campaign is over, but our work to defend and advance American values never ends,” said Majority Leader Crisanta Duran. “Our dedication to working families, women and children and Coloradans of all backgrounds is stronger than ever.” Swelling the ranks of the House Democratic caucus in 2017 will be:
- Dafna Michaelson Jenet, who defeated the incumbent Republican, JoAnn Windholz, in House District 30 in Arapahoe County.
- Barbara McLachlan, who edged Republican incumbent J. Paul Brown in House District 59, which includes La Plata, Archuleta, Hinsdale, San Juan, Ouray and Gunnison counties.
- Tony Exum Sr., who reclaimed the House District 17 seat in El Paso County from the Republican incumbent, Kit Roupé.
Every incumbent House Democrat who sought re-election was returned to office.“We reached out to nearly a million individual Coloradans during the campaign,” Rep. Duran said. “We made gains because we listened to the hopes and concerns of voters in Colorado. We now begin the hard work of coming together to represent all Coloradans in our state House.”
Also joining the House Democratic caucus in 2017 will be these legislative newcomers: James Coleman, Chris Hansen and Leslie Herod from Denver; Jeff Bridges, Dominique Jackson and Mike Weissman from Arapahoe County; Adrienne Benavidez from Adams County; Chris Kennedy from Jefferson County; Matt Gray from Broomfield; Edie Hooton from Boulder County; and Donald Valdez from the vast southern district that includes Alamosa, Costilla, Conejos, Huerfano, Mineral, Pueblo, Rio Grande and Saguache counties.
Addressing a throng Tuesday night at the Colorado Democratic Party’s gathering in a downtown Denver hotel, Rep. Duran thanked the voters of Colorado for seeing through the murk and divisiveness of a nasty presidential campaign. “In this election, you faced a choice between people obsessed with ideology and people dedicated to problem solving,” she said.
“You have spoken. Tonight, problem solving has won.”Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, who is term-limited, saw the results as a rejection of political gridlock and an endorsement of meaningful change in how the state funds education, transportation and other top priorities. “Once again, Colorado voters have shown the way forward,” she said. “Thank you, Colorado. I will be able to head into retirement with unshaken confidence in our state’s future.”