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Colorado’s leadership and policy priorities came into (slightly better) focus on Tuesday night after a contentious primary campaign came to a close. And although Colorado appears to still be living up to its reputation as one of the purplest of purple states, one thing is certain: If there’s a big topic on the mind of voters this election season, it’s the economy. “There’s a particular concern: Are my job prospects going to be better in the future? Is that going to be able to help me take care of my family?” says Gayle Berardi, a professor of political science at Colorado State University-Pueblo. “That always seems to drive elections.”
Here’s a recap of some of Tuesday night’s highlights:
Darryl Glenn Takes the GOP Nomination for U.S. Senate
Just 30 minutes after the polls closed, Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner, found himself with a reason to celebrate. The Tea Party favorite and self-proclaimed “constitutional conservative” surprised the GOP establishment in the closely watched Senate race and will now try to unseat Democratic Senator Michael Bennet. Glenn’s double-digit victory over his closest competitor, Jack Graham, came after the National Rifle Association (NRA) member received endorsements from far-right Republicans Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin.
Berardi wasn’t surprised to see Glenn take the Republican nomination, even though his campaign was not as well funded as his competitors. “He is the perfect example of a candidate on the state level who’s tapped into voter frustration with what’s going on in Washington,” Berardi says. “He’s an anti-establishment candidate, and if there ever was an election to be an anti-establishment candidate, it’s this year.”
Incumbent Diana DeGette Wins Primary for U.S. House District 1
In a heavily Democratic district, Denver favorite DeGette found herself blazing past her primary opponent, Charles H. “Chuck” Norris, on Tuesday night. Rep. DeGette easily won her first contested primary since 2002, inching closer to her 11th term by promoting the same liberal stances—abortion rights, gun safety, and biomedical research, for example—she’s held for the past 20 years.
Beth McCann Handily Wins Nomination for Denver District Attorney
The race for Denver District Attorney narrowed last night as McCann won the Democratic nomination, ensuring that Denver will elect its first-ever female DA. The Democrat, who is vying for Mitch Morrissey’s spot, has a leg up in the Mile High City, which votes reliably Democratic, even for DAs. Her opponent, Chief Deputy District Attorney Helen Morgan, is an unaffiliated candidate, which will likely mean she faces an uphill battle in the general.
What Will The Colorado Senate Look Like After November?
Colorado’s Senate has been leaning slightly right since Republicans secured the majority in 2014; yesterday’s results served as the warm-up to a general election, which will determine whether or not the balance of power swings left after the November election.
Former state Rep. Bob Gardner defeated pastor and GOP state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt for the District 12 nomination in Colorado Springs. In another race, Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields defeated Su Ryden in Aurora, a victory that catapulted her into a contest against Republican Sebastian Chunn in November. During the general election, 18 Senate seats out of the chamber’s 35 will be up for grabs, and two senators have no primary or general election opposition—Republican Owen Hill of Colorado Springs and Matt Jones of Louisville—save for write-in candidates.