Unlike in the Colorado House, Democrats retained the Colorado Senate in 2010, losing only 1 seat. After redistricting, the old SD21 held by Democrats and SD22 held by Republicans were essentially merged to make the new Jeffco-based SD22 with no incumbent. In south-east Colorado, a new seat was created as the new SD35. Democrats primarily played defense with only 2 real pick-up opportunities.
Democrats were unable to take SD35, losing 47%-49%. In SD8, where moderate Senator Jean White was knocked-off by Rep. Randy Baumgardner in the Republican Primary, Baumgardner held on by a 51%-44% margin. This left 3 other competitive races that Republicans had to sweep to pick up the State Senate.
SD19 (Westminster/Arvada) - Hudak (D) v. Sias (R)
This northern Jeffco-based seat is incredibly competitive in all elections and has very high voter turnout. Senator Evie Hudak was heavily targeted by Republicans and conservative-leaning groups, with ads on cable TV hammering her every day. But Hudak raised over $200k and gained a reputation for being one of the hardest working candidates. In the end Hudak won by 268 votes, just outside recount range. No one benefited more from a Libertarian candidate, winning 46.9%-46.5%. (The libertarian took about 6.5%)
SD22 (Lakewood/Ken Caryl) - Kerr (D) v. Summers (R)
A last-minute creation by the Reapportionment Commission, this seat has no incumbent and both Rep. Andy Kerr (D) and Rep. Ken Summers (R) were drawn into it. This seat was drawn to be very competitive, but Summers was seen as having an early advantage. Kerr spent the summer erasing that advantage, eventually out-raising Summers. Outside groups on both sides played heavily in this race. In the end, Kerr beat Summers 52%-48%, a larger margin than any anticipated. Kerr will have to defend the seat again in 2014 since this was technically a special election.
SD26 (Littleton/Englewood/Arapahoe Co.) - Newell (D) v. Kerber (R)
This south-west Arapahoe County seat was better shored up than SD19, and Linda Newell was going to need it. Having won by only 195 votes in 2008, Newell was a prime target for Republicans. Democrats on the reapportionment committee stretched the district around Denver County to parts of Aurora and unincorporated Arapahoe County that lean Democratic, while avoiding Centennial. This more favorable district and very active campaigns on both sides left Newell with an impressive 54%-44% victory.
These 3 victories by Democrats maintained their 20-15 edge in the chamber. No one expected Republicans to win the Senate outright this year, but maintaining the current margin is vital to Democrats maintaining the Senate in 2014. That year Democrats will be defending 6 competitive seats, 3 of which are expected to be open. They will also have no opportunities for pick-ups. Republicans will only need to net 3 seats to win the Senate next time around.