On Wednesday morning, the Rocky Mountain News decided to call the race for secretary of state for Republican Mike Coffman, even though tens of thousands of votes (from primarily Democratic areas like Denver) had yet to be counted. But now The Denver Post reports that Democrat Ken Gordon has a mathematical chance of catching Coffman:

At least 66,000 absentee and provisional ballots remain uncounted or unreported this morning, making it mathematically possible that Democratic state Sen. Ken Gordon could whittle away Republican state Treasurer Mike Coffman’s lead.

Gordon, who remains roughly 30,000 votes behind Coffman, has been capturing an average of 71 percent of the votes in the primarily Democratic strongholds of Denver, Pueblo and Boulder, where the vast majority of uncounted ballots remain.

Calling an election is always an inexact science, and even the big media boys make that mistake (remember 2000, when Al Gore “won” Florida before he lost it?) But in this case the Rocky moved far too quickly because of where the uncounted votes were coming from. If the majority of uncounted votes were in areas that were more evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, then the Rocky would have been justified in making the call. But when many of the missing votes are from heavily-Democratic areas such as Denver, you can’t make that call so quickly.

I still love the irony in all of this, however: The only statewide race yet to be called — because of ballot problems — is for an office that is supposed to oversee elections.