For the first time since 1970, Colorado voters shifted control
of both the state House and state Senate to the Democratic
The Democrats have been in control of the Senate since 2000, but
they gained some long-held Republican seats in the House on
Election Day. One of these races was in District 50, with the
victory of Democrat Jim Riesberg. Riesberg claimed a seat that had
been occupied by a Republican for 16 years.
“Seeing how we took both the House and the Senate, we’ll
(Democrats) be received very well,” Reisberg said. “I think that
(Democratic victory) was the biggest shocker of the night.”
John Straayer, a political science professor, said he was
surprised Democrats took the House and speculates that the
two-thirds of the Republican candidates who lost presented
themselves as extremely conservative.
“A (contributing) reason was the fact that three of the
candidates were of the far right wing of the party – maybe a little
too far,” Straayer said. “Republicans were very focused on the
president and (Pete) Coors/(Ken) Salazar; they neglected the state
Ashleigh McBeth, president of CSU Young Democrats, was excited
about the surprise Democrat victory, but she was unhappy with the
results of the U.S. House race between Democrat Stan Matsunaka and
Republican Marilyn Musgrave.
“We are very upset that Matsunaka did not win,” McBeth said.
“Musgrave has not visited the 4th District … she has not come to
CSU. I think a lot of people voted party lines on that and not on
Despite changing partisan control, state legislators will have
their hands full when they reconvene with $263 million in cuts to
deal with from last year.
Riesburg said because so many elections were so close,
legislators “have to have a new spirit of bipartisan effort,” and
it will be essential for candidates to come together across party
“Do we have to look at the tax structure? Certainly,” Riesberg
said. “There’s going to have to be some real creative planning to
get beyond that shortfall.”
While the election brought surprises for many, Larimer County
Clerk Scott Doyle said his office ran smoothly all day, and he was
very happy with the cities’ operations.
“I was delighted to see that (the voter turnout),” Doyle said.
“It was a blessing, unprecedented.”
Larimer County was the only place in the country on Tuesday that
did not require voters to attend a specific polling place. They
could cast their ballots at any of 31 county locations. While there
was some concern over accuracy in Colorado after it was discovered
that 55,000 voters statewide had double registered, Doyle said
Larimer County has had no problems.
“Everything was impeccable,” Doyle said.
Doyle said one of the election’s highlights for him was the
youth participation, which has been so publicized.
“Out of 200,000 voters, 160,000 active and 40,000 inactive, out
of that number 30,000 are 18 to 24 years old,” Doyle said. “So (18-
to 24-year-olds) are the driving factor and their voice was heard
pretty loud yesterday.”