Nov 022010
 
Authors: Chadwick Bowman

It seemed like Florida 2000 all over again.

After taking the lead at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck had about 30,000 to 40,000 votes wiped out just 15 minutes later in what was called a miscount by Boulder County.

A quick fix, Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet was returned his missing votes but fell behind Buck minutes later, bringing in 47 percent, or 651,805 votes, to Buck’s 48 percent, or 662,832 votes.

Just hours before, Bennet held a 5-percentage-point lead over Buck. Shortly after, he fell behind.

And so was the back-and-forth nature of the heated U.S. Senate race that remained undetermined at midnight Tuesday, with Buck polling at 47.5 percent or 718,013 votes, and Bennet polling at 47.1 percent or 711,148 votes.

Throughout the evening, supporters of both candidates rallied in large groups, spread between the Marriott City Center in downtown Denver and the Doubletree Hotel Denver Tech Center. They bit fingernails and stood on toes, awaiting the new numbers and hoping candidates would rally in major counties.

At Bennet’s watch party, supporters began to scatter around the various hotel bars, trying to ease tensions. By late night, the supporters became scarce in the Colorado Ball Room.

Bennet campaigned on a platform backing the importance of renewable energy, supporting middle class tax cuts and growing small businesses.

He, too, says he is an advocate for education. Prior to being appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2008, he was positioned as the superintendant for Denver Public Schools.

“Nobody could have done a better job on making an impact on this state,” Gov. Bill Ritter told hundreds of supporters. “Bennet has been a fantastic campaigner and also a United States senator.”

Supporters rallied for the Democrats at the Marriott City Center in downtown Denver.

Speakers at the Democratic event included Senior U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Governor-elect John Hickenlooper.

Buck and his supporters gathered at the Doubletree Hotel to watch the numbers as they rolled in on the news stations.

Buck, a Tea Party favorite, campaigned on the platform of rolling back government spending and tax cuts for all Americans, including those that would affect the richest Americans.

Late when the votes were still being counted, Buck’s camp remained positive.

“We’re feeling good,” Owen Loftus, Buck’s spokesman, told the Collegian. “Lots of votes still out there to be counted, especially in El Paso, where the polls just closed.”

Acting as the district attorney for Weld County, Buck took a tough stance on illegal immigration. He wanted the seat in Washington to refrain from the “politics as usual.”

Staff writer Chadwick Bowman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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