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Adding to the great night nationally on Tuesday, Democrats in Colorado were swept back into the majority in the House.  Not only did they gain the 33 seats needed for a majority, they won every competitive race except for one, winning 37 seats to the Republicans 28.  

Here's a quick run-down of the 5 seats we picked up last night and the incredibly diverse House that will be sworn-in this January!

Democratic pick-ups:

HD17 (Colorado Springs) - Exum (D) v. Barker (R)
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This south-east Colorado Springs district is known for it's huge swings from Presidential to non-presidential years, and this year the district swung dramatically back into the Democratic column.  In the end Tony Exum won 54%-38%.  Tony Exum was a great recruit, matching the district's diverse population.  Mark Barker, the incumbent, was also targeted by gay groups for his vote to kill Civil Unions this year.

HD29 (Arvada/Westminster) - Kraft-Tharp (D) v. Ramirez (R)
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This seat was the most heartbreaking 2 years ago, going Republican by 193 votes and handing the House to Republicans.  This year, being drawn slightly bluer, Democrats were most serious about taking it back.  Tracy Kraft-Tharp was one of the first House recruits for the 2012 cycle and immediately raced a great amount of money.  Robert Ramirez didn't do himself any favors, saying he was for civil unions, then attending a rally against it as the bill died.  With his flip-flop, Ramirez became target #1 of gay groups.  In the end this race wasn't that close, Kraft-Tharp won 51%-43%.

HD33 (Broomfield) - Primavera (D) v. Pigott (R)
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Diane Primavera caught a few breaks early on in this race.  First, the seat she lost in 2010 was made bluer in redistricting.  Then the man who beat her, Don Beezley, decided not to run again.  With these advantages, Primavera had this race mostly put away by the time Republicans got their act together enough to play in this district.  Primavera won her old seat back by a 50%-45% margin.

HD40 (Aurora) - Buckner (D) v. Acree (R)
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Cindy Acree was elected in 2008 in an overwhelmingly Republican district that stretched from Aurora to the eastern plains.  After redistricting, however, this district became a Democratic-leaning, Aurora-only district.  Cindy Acree didn't do herself any favors by being as far-right as he had been.  She also managed to be one of the Republicans to kill civil unions in the special session debacle.  This race wasn't very close at all, Buckner ran away with it, taking 56% to Acree's 44%.  

HD59 (Durango) - McLachlan (D) v. Brown (R)
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This southwestern Colorado district is painfully independent and after redistricting was made incredibly competitive.  Rep. J. Paul Brown was already more conservative than his previous district.  Brown is also especially adept to putting his foot in his mouth.  With his anti-environment record and vote against civil unions, Brown was a target for just about everyone.  In the end this race was close, but McLachlan won 51%-49%.

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With the gain of these 5 seats and 0 losses for Democrats, there is a strong majority in the House.  Their first act as a caucus was to unanimously nominate openly-gay Representative Mark Ferrandino as Speaker.  Just 20 years after Colorado being known as the "hate state" for our passage of Amendment 2, we're making history with our first openly-gay Speaker of the House.

The House overall is now a much more diverse place, out of 65 members, 5 are LGBT, 5 are Black, 8 are Hispanic and 29 are women.  White men are actually the minority!  

The Senate comes next, not as exciting, but a solid hold.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah Tony Exum (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    science nerd, surfbird007

    Good friend was his campaign manager - progressive Dem wins in the belly of the beast

    There is no environmental, social, economic or resource problem that wouldn't be helped by 3 billion fwer people on the planet.

    by tjlord on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:07:06 AM PST

  •  Winning State legislatures is SO IMPORTANT (6+ / 0-)

    Which is why Republicans have been focused on winning at the State level for years.

    I keep saying: We need to learn from Republicans. They don't go home: ever.

  •  Thanks for the rundown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX, ColoTim

    It was great hearing that Ohio went for Obama but when it was announced that Colorado stayed blue and just got bluer as the night went on, my joy was doubled.

    I truly hope my canvassing for OFA helped to get out the vote for Buckner as well.

  •  Civil Unions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    Thanks for the info and the detailed profiles.

    One great result of these victories is that, now that we have control of both the House and Senate, there is a good chance for passage of a bill providing for civil unions like the one that passed the Senate but was derailed in the House last year.

    While civil unions fall far short of full marriage equality, and are seen by some as a possible stumbling block in getting there, the passage of such a measure in Colorado would be a great step in the right direction.

    •  I don't see it as a stumbling block (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CF of Aus

      Civil unions have led to marriage in three states.  Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire all had civil unions before fully establishing same-sex marriage.  Additionally, Illinois and Rhode Island have civil unions and talk is high that they will be considering full marriage equality in the next session.

      I would be overjoyed to see Colorado pass the civil unions bill that was held up last time.  We would be the first state Bush won both times to have civil unions, showing it's becoming a consensus in the purple states.

      •  I don't either. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Skaje

        But it was an argument that came up in 2006 when there was a proposed amendment allowing civil unions on the ballot in Colorado.  I was just pointing out that some people feel that way about it - and doing a little CYA to avoid having anyone jump down my throat for failing to acknowledge it : ).

  •  So incredible to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheOtherJimM

    Very optimistic about the next session.  I assume civil unions will come up again, and should be a winner.  Overall, just glad that Colorado is painted blue again.

    A shame about the congressional races though.  CO-03 was always going to be tough, but I'm surprised Coffman outran the GOP so much in CO-06.  Maybe we just need an Aurora-based candidate next time.

    Part of me wishes they'd just redraw the congressional map though.  I don't know if there's any specific constitutional prohibitions against it in Colorado.

    •  There are... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Skaje, Belle Ame

      Because Republicans tried the same thing when they took over the trifecta in 2002, the courts threw it out since our constitution says only once every 10 years!

    •  The thing about it is the maps are pretty good. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Belle Ame

      I just don't think Miklosi ran a good campaign.  I wanted him to win, but he just never seemed to do what he needed to.  He didn't build his name rec up because he was too busy attacking Coffman (rightfully).  

      The district needs a better candidate to win that seat.  But it IS winnable.

      If you listen to fools, the Mob Rules

      by CO Democrat on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 01:34:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Joe Miklosi was from Aurora. Coffman (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Belle Ame

      had enough redness left in his district and he ran a good introduction ad that portrayed him as a solid citizen from Aurora, veteran who went above the call of duty to serve multiple tours and this ran for a long time before Joe got his advertising running.  

      That said, the most devastating ad I saw the whole cycle at any level was the one by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about "Who is Joe Miklosi to make life and death decisions about stem cell research?"  I imagine the ad was redone for various districts, but it made my wife volunteer that she would vote against Coffman if we were still in his district.  I went out and knocked on doors for him, but unfortunately he lost by an unchallengeable margin.

      The ad wars between the candidates were very fierce, but I think Joe lost because Coffman was out there first and he was the incumbent.

  •  PA might get there in about 237 years (0+ / 0-)
  •  There is also the technical gains of: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Belle Ame

    HD28 with Brittany Petterson and HD 30 with Jenise May.  

    Also, I live in South Jeffco and am Glad and proud to have Andy Kerr as my new State Senator!!!!

    If you listen to fools, the Mob Rules

    by CO Democrat on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:16:46 AM PST

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