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The State of the Statehouse

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With a number of races still undecided, prospects are looking promising for Republicans in the state legislature. Coming into Tuesday, Dems held a 37-27-1 edge in the House and a 21-14 advantage in the Senate, but results suggest Republicans could take over the House and maybe the Senate, according to The Denver Post. A shift in power would end the Democrats’ legislative reign dating back to 2004, when they upset Republicans throughout the state. “The surprise won’t be that we lose seats,” Democratic political consultant Steve Welchert says, “but that we ever won them to begin with.”

Among Republicans, Pueblo’s Keith Swerdfeger picked up the House seat vacated by Democratic leader Buffie McFadyen, writes The Pueblo Chieftain, making him one of a handful of GOP candidates to beat an incumbent or win an open seat. The Post also reports that sitting Democrats Sara Gagliardi of Arvada, Joe Rice of Littleton, Debbie Benefield of Arvada, Dianne Primavera of Broomfield, and Dennis Apuan of Colorado Springs all appear to be facing defeat. If those outcomes hold, the Republicans would gain a majority in the House, after attacking Dems over auto-registration fees and the suspension of a property-tax break for seniors, in addition to criticizing outgoing Democratic Governor Bill Ritter.

In the state Senate, Republican Ellen Roberts defeated incumbent/appointee Democrat Bruce Whitehead in southwestern Colorado, notes The Durango Herald. Three other close races are still virtual dead heats, and after Republicans claimed some initial victories, final results might not be known until mail ballots are counted. Notably, Democratic Senator John Morse, of Colorado Springs, holds a roughly 150-vote edge over challenger Owen Hill, reports the Colorado Springs Independent.

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