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Hickenlooper new governor, Salazar ousted from House

Democrat Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is Colorado’s new governor, winning on Tuesday night with a landslide victory.

As of press time Wednesday, with 2,852 of 3,246 precincts reporting (88 percent of the total vote), Hickenlooper had 51 percent of the vote, with American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo getting 37 percent of the vote. Republican Dan Maes had just 11 percent of the vote.

Also statewide, Colorado voters had apparently voted to retain incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. By press time on Wednesday, with 3,210 of 3,246 precincts reporting — 99 percent of the vote — Bennet was declared the winner over his Republican challenger Ken Buck with a narrow 48-47 percent margin. However, Archuleta County voters chose Buck over Bennet with a 59.56-40.43 margin.

Also closer to home, voters in Colorado District 3 (which includes Archuleta County) ousted incumbent U.S. Congressman John Salazar in favor of Republican challenger Scott Tipton by a 50-46 percent margin, with voters in the county opting 56.46-43.53 percent for Tipton. Salazar conceded defeat late Wednesday morning.

Hickenlooper was the only Democratic candidate to carry Archuleta County, pulling in 42 percent of the vote. Maes had 30 percent of the vote in the county, while Tancredo pulled in 26 percent of the vote.

In other statewide races, Republican incumbent Attorney General John Suthers won handily with 57 percent of the vote, compared with the 43 percent pulled in by his challenger, Democrat Stan Garnett. Suthers won Archuleta County with 66 percent while Garnett had 34 percent of the vote.

Republican Scott Gessler unseated Democrat Bernie Buescher for Secretary of State with 50 percent of the vote compared to Buescher’s 43 percent. Locally, Gessler won the vote of 62 percent of Archuleta County voters, clearly outstripping the 33 percent of county votes cast for Buescher.

In the race for State Treasurer, Republicans also replaced incumbent Democrat Cary Kennedy in a race that was not called until midday Wednesday. Statewide, Republican Walker Stapleton’s 51 percent of the vote outperformed the 49 percent of votes cast for Kennedy. Countywide, Kennedy had 34 percent of the vote compared with the 66 percent of votes favoring Stapleton.

Matching the national vote, Republicans regained control of the Colorado State House of Representatives while Democrats retained control of the State Senate — but not without losing some seats.

In fact, as of press time Wednesday, the single Senate pickup was credited to Rep. Ellen Roberts who defeated incumbent Democrat Bruce Whitehead 61-39 percent (see related story, Page A1). Republicans needed to turn over four Senate seats to claim a majority.

Republicans reached their goal of taking six seats to regain control of the House, unseating five incumbent Democrats and winning one open seat in Pueblo.

With clear gains by Republicans in state races this year, Governor-elect Hickenlooper will certainly need to reach across the aisle more than his predecessor Bill Ritter.