County clerks haven’t finished tallying all the ballots cast in the 2018 midterm elections, but most Colorado races are set. We know Proposition 112 failed, and Jared Polis defeated Walker Stapleton in the governor’s race.
But you might have missed a few details from the night. Here’s a rundown:
1. Democrats haven’t had a stronghold on Colorado like this in decades
The last time Colorado Democrats held every statewide constitutional office and both houses of the state legislature was in 1949. Democratic Gov. William Lee Knous was first elected governor in 1946 while serving as chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. He left office early in 1950 for a U.S. District Court position.
RELATED | 2018 Election results
Prior to 1966, Colorado's lieutenant governor was elected separately, and not on a ticket with the governor. With Gov. Knous' departure, Lt. Gov. Walter W. Johnson, a fellow Democrat, became governor. That ended the Democrats' brief hold on all five constitutional offices (governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and treasurer) because Republican Senate Pres. Charles Murphy then became the lieutenant governor.
The treasurer entering office in 1949 was Democrat Homer Bedford, who served - per legislator/historian Jerry Kopel - a record 32 years in the executive branch. Bedford was elected treasurer eight times and auditor six times as he jumped between offices to avoid limits on successive terms.
(h/t Kyle Clark for the research)
2. Colorado elected Democrats but didn’t give them money.
Colorado voters gave Democrats complete control of state government while simultaneously rejecting the Democrats’ proposed tax increases to fund education and transportation.
In an interview with Next with Kyle Clark, Governor-elect Polis seemed unfazed by that.
“It’s a time for Democrats to show Democrats can govern,” he said. “Those are not things that I was running on or supported either.”
3. Polis made national headlines for becoming the first openly-gay governor in the country; but what are his policy views?
In their interview, Kyle and Polis touched on the death penalty, oil and gas more.
- Death penalty: “I feel it’s not cost-effective, it’s not an effective deterrent, and you know I do have a problem with some of the ways it’s been implemented from a racial bias perspective, as well.” Polis said that if he is presented with a bill to abolish the death penalty, he’d sign it.
- Oil and gas: “These issues haven’t gone away.” Essentially, Polis said that if the oil and gas industry wants to stop spending money fighting new ballot measures, they should come to the table and work on an agreement.
- TABOR: He wants to tackle TABOR but says he will absolutely leave in the provision that allows Coloradans to vote on tax increases. (By the way, if you want to nerd out over TABOR, we have before and will recommend CPR's podcast on the topic. It's a fantastic explainer.)
Governor-elect Polis also made big promises during his campaign, like full-day kindergarten, so we’ll now have to see how that would be paid for.
4. Colorado went blue, and so did Arapahoe County.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the night: Arapahoe County voted to replace its incumbent Republican sheriff. Sheriff David Walcher lost to Tyler Brown from Mountain View.
5. No more red light cameras in Aurora.
Aurora Mayor Bob LeGare told Next it was a resounding no on red light cameras Tuesday. The contract runs through the end of the year, so expect the cameras through January.
6. People behind Amendment A said burned flyers were left at their door
The Denver man who helped write the language for Amendment A says someone burned campaign flyers on the doorsteps of his Whittier home on Monday.
Jumoke Emery says his wife found the smoldering flyers and called him while he was at work. The Denver Police Department is investigating the incident, that Emery calls terrorism and intimidation.
Emery originated the Amendment A campaign in 2016, to repeal a constitutional exception on the ban of slavery that allows for slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime.
"I'm angry, I'm upset, but I'm also determined," Emery said.
Amendment A passed Tuesday.
7. Unaffiliated voters were not shy
It was a big year for unaffiliated voters. They could vote in the primary election for the first time, and they came out in droves in Tuesday's election. They outnumbered the Democrats and Republicans statewide.
The 2014 midterm election ended with: 519,225 Democratic votes, 636,223 Republican votes and 433,648 unaffiliated votes.
In 2018 - 822,419 Democratic votes, 804,991 Republican votes and 852,443 unaffiliated votes.
8. Denver voting
Many initiatives on the Denver ballot passed, like a sales tax to increase park funding and a measure to change campaign finance rules in city elections (important because Denver has a mayoral race coming up).
9. Denver has some interesting polling places
Denver has quite a lot of voters, so it needs quite a lot of polling places. Tuesday, those included, Union Station, Denver Coliseum, The Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Botanic Gardens. Statewide, there was a Goodwill location in Mesa County, a mall in Pueblo (Citadel Mall), and Hilton Hotel in Larimer County.
It's Election Day and we're proud to be an official Polling Center for Denver! We have voting polls set up in the North Side of the Great Hall today from 10:00am - 6:00pm and tomorrow from 7:00am - 7:00pm. . . . #unionstation #denverunionstation #electionday #denverelections #denver
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Back from Boston and walked myself down to the @denverbotanic to #vote 🗳 . . . . . #botanicgardens #voted #civicduty #rockthevote #firsttimeivevotedinperson #ivoted #denver #denvercounty #congresspark #walktovote
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