Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was elected governor of the state of Colorado Tuesday night to the thunderous applause of approximately 1,500 people and delivered a rousing victory speech to Democrats crammed into a Marriott hotel conference room.
At 11:44 p.m., Hickenlooper was polling 50 percent, or 702,490 votes, to opponent Tom Tancredoâ€™s 37.4 percent, or 525,535 votes, and GOP opponent Dan Maesâ€™ 11.1 percent, or 157,148 votes.
The Colorado Democratic Party, CDP, hosted an Election Night event attended by staff members of Democrats running for re-election, liberal fundraisers and state Democratic Party officers.
CDP Chair Patricia Waak said in an interview with the Collegian that business opportunities and entrepreneurial groups would increase as a result of his election.
â€œI think John Hickenlooper is really going to help lead Colorado out in the economic recovery,â€ she said.
Hickenlooperâ€™s campaign had been characterized in part by its refusal to use negative attack ads against former Colorado Rep. Tancredo, his main opponent in the election.
State Rep. Judy Solano said that part of the reason Hickenlooper won was because of his consistently positive message to voters. Solano said she was never afraid that he would lose, specifically because â€œpeople loved his ads.â€
The atmosphere at the Stampede Country Dance Hall, Rep. Tancredoâ€™s watch party location, was far different. Defeated conservatives frowned at the TV as it reported early in the evening that Hickenlooper bested their candidate.
â€œI think the majority of Colorado was misinformed, and listened to the â€˜lame-street media,â€™â€ said Vince Rozanskas, a Tancredo supporter from Aurora. â€œI mean: Thatâ€™s what happened with Obama.â€
Charleen Dowdell, a Denver resident also in attendance at the dance hall, said that she thought the race was determined in favor of Hickenlooper too early in the night for the decision to be valid. Dowdell also took issue with the fact that Rep. Tancredo scurried to an upstairs room of the dance hall after his concession speech instead of talking to supporters.
Before Hickenlooperâ€™s victory speech, Rep. Tancredo told the crowd in attendance that he admitted defeat, â€œdidnâ€™t know where it went from here tonight,â€ sang â€œHappy Birthdayâ€ to a 5 year-old grandson of his and exited the stage.
The campaign expected far more support from Coloradoâ€™s eastern counties.
â€œThe numbers are obviously not what we expected,â€ said Kim Herzfeldt, a Tancredo campaign staff member. â€œWeâ€™re going to take a look at a lot of information after this.â€
Hickenlooper told the Collegian that the best thing for CSU students would be stabilizing the stateâ€™s economy â€“â€“ the governor-electâ€™s first priority.
â€œThe first thing we could do for everybody would be to put people back to work,â€ he said. â€œWe need to make sure that a big chunk of that income tax goes to our stateâ€™s schools.â€
Staff writer Andrew Carerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.