Colorado election results: Democrats Polis and Crow win, watch the rest with us

Denver ballot initiatives, Colorado candidates, amendments and ballot questions — it’s going to be a big night.
23 min. read
Ballots are sorted for mailing in a massive machine inside the U.S. Postal Service’s sorting and shipping facility in Stapleton, Oct. 16, 2018.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

It's election night. You've voted or you've decided to hold your peace.

So here's how election night works -- the polls closed at 7 p.m. The Secretary of State published first results will publish at 7 p.m. (you can follow them here), with updates every 15 minutes. Denver Elections plans to update with local numbers every 90 minutes. You can follow those here.

We'll update this page as completely as we can, not only with results, but with some quotes from the various major players as Denverite staffers scattered around the metro area at watch parties report back.

If you'd like to jump straight to the most closely watched races, here are our stories on Jared Polis' historic victory in the race for governor and Jason Crow's victory over incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman in the race for the 6th Congressional District.

If you've got questions, you can ask us on Twitter at @Denverite -- that'll be fastest, and Dave and Ashley will be monitoring it. Otherwise, you can shoot us an email at [email protected].


What we're hearing/seeing/learning

? 10:58 p.m.: That's going to be it for us on this post tonight. We have to get a newsletter ready for you guys!

Stuff left to decide — Amendment W, see below; Initiated Ordinance 300 (the scholarships one); and the attorney general race, which is at this moment separated by fewer than 3,000 votes (but one outlet has by now called for Democrat Phil Weiser). We'll be back at it tomorrow following those things, what happens now that the national landscape has shifted, and answering a few more questions we have. Plus ... you didn't think this was the only election on our minds, did you? See you tomorrow. —DB (@daveburdick)

⏳ 10:48 p.m.: Incredibly, Amendment W — the one that would change the way judges are listed on the ballot — is the only amendment keeping us in suspense at this point. It needs 55 percent of the vote to pass, at at the moment, it's got 53.21 percent. —DB (@daveburdick)

? 10:20 p.m.: FULL STORY now up on the defeat of two competing measures that said they'd fix Colorado's (damn) roads. —DS (@DavidASachs)

? 10:08 p.m.: Brauchler sent his people home, telling them it's probably going to go until the morning, and that they still have hope. —KB (@KevinJBeaty)

?️ 10 p.m.: Prop 112 — the fracking setbacks one — is not going to pass. Statewide, 57 percent of votes counted so far are "no" votes. In Denver, that's flipped. Denver Elections says that as of right now, 56.9 percent of Denver votes have been "yes" votes. —DB (@daveburdick)

? 9:58 p.m.: The attorney general race is still really tight. As we wrote early on, Republican George Brauchler is really popular, and a Brauchler loss would be a sign of a truly thorough "blue wave." He's not conceded at this point, and the Secretary of State has Democrat Phil Weiser up on Brauchler just 49 percent to 48.2 percent. This will be the second late election night for Weiser — his primary against Joe Salazar wasn't decided for days. —DB (@daveburdick)

? 9:55 p.m.: State Rep. Leslie Herod on 301, Caring 4 Denver: "We won this measure because Denverites stepped up and told their story," she said, referring to a campaign strategy of testimonials by people who have faced mental illness.

Denver also may have swayed voters: "People see people struggling. People see people's challenges. They want to do something to help. And Caring 4 Denver will help."

She said the next step will be forming the 13-member board appointed by the mayor, the district attorney and the City Council president to administer grants from the fund to organizations working in mental health care, addiction reduction and other areas. She said she expected the board to start disbursing funds in late 2019. —DB (@donnaindenver)

❌ 9:50 p.m.: Boulder. Pitkin. San Miguel. These are the only counties where a majority of voters — so far — have voted in favor of lowering the age requirement for serving in the state legislature. Amendment V gets absolutely crushed. —DB (@daveburdick)

✅ 9:36 p.m.: Amendments Y and Z, the redistricting ones that were advocated for by a merry band of Republicans and Democrats, are cruising toward victory. They've both got more than 70 percent support. Amendment A — the slavery one — looks good, too, with 64.7 percent of support. —DB (@daveburdick)

✅ 9:29 p.m.: Wayne Williams has conceded the race for secretary of state to Democrat Jena Griswold. —DS (@DavidASachs)

? 9:23 p.m.: Blake Angelo, who led 302, Healthy Food for Denver Kids, was feeling optimistic just after 9 p.m.: "This was an issue that resonated with voters who wanted to do the right thing, who wanted to make a modest contribution to ensure that Denver kids had access to healthy food."

He said that as he and other volunteers canvassed, they heard many people who had not realized hunger was so widespread. But they also "talked to so many people in Denver who had experienced hunger or to teachers or people who worked with kids who experienced hunger. It wasn't academic. It was real." —DB (@donnaindenver)

⏱ 9:20 p.m.: Denver Elections reports that as of 9 p.m., all vote centers were closed and clear of voters. The next wave of results will be in at 10 p.m.  —AD (@AshleyDean)

? 9:10 p.m.: Sean Duffy, spokesperson for 110 campaign: "Obviously it will be a continuing challenge for the state, the new legislature and new governor to find a solution that’s palatable to the majority of citizens in the state."

Jon Caldara, who spearheaded the 109 campaign, jokingly: "We're demanding a recount." (Full story coming soon.)

? 9:03 p.m.: It's also looking really grim for supporters of Amendment V (lowering the age for serving in the state legislature), Amendment 73 (education funding), Amendment 74 (requiring compensation for a reduction in real estate value) and Amendment 75 (the millionaire candidate one). They'd all need 55 percent of the vote to pass. Right now, none of those have more than 47 percent. —DB (@daveburdick)

8:54 p.m.: Colorado voters may be rejecting both transportation-focused initiatives. "No" votes lead "yes" votes in each, about 60-40. Coloradans love to complain about traffic and roads, but are proving to be pretty bad at agreeing how to deal with any of it. —DB (@daveburdick)

? 8:44 p.m.: Crow gave not so much a victory speech as a statement of purpose. The crowd, boisterous at first, grew solemn when he turned to his values. He spoke several times of the strength he sees in diversity. He described the men and women he fought alongside as being from all races, gay and straight, some not citizens. "To this day when I think of America, the faces of those soldiers that I fought with come to mind." —DB (@donnaindenver)

? 8:43 p.m.: Supporters of Denver's Measure 2E — the local campaign finance one — are feeling very good about their 69-31 lead. They say they're chipping away at Citizens United. FULL STORY HERE. —DB (@daveburdick)

? 8:37 p.m.: According to a tweet from the Colorado Secretary of State, 2,301,035 ballots were returned as of 8 p.m. Democrats: 756,411. Republicans: 749,936. Unaffiliated: 761,124. Yes, unaffiliated voters are now ahead of both Democrats and Republicans. —AD (@AshleyDean)

⌚️ 8:35 p.m.: Denver Elections says the following vote centers reported voters still in line as of 8:15 p.m.: Blair Caldwell Library, Corona Church, Denver Police District 1, Harvey Park, Green Valley Ranch, and Montbello Rec. Center. —AD (@AshleyDean)

✅ 8:33 p.m.: The Associated Press has called a few more U.S. House races — things where there wasn't really suspense. The Dems will keep CD2, but Joe Neguse will replace Polis. Tipton keeps his seat. —DB (@daveburdick)

? 8:21 p.m: Polis thanks his partner, Marlon Reis, “The first First Man in the history of Colorado.” Big cheers. —EH (@EstebanHRZ)

?? 8:18 p.m.: U.S. Rep. Coffman, conceding to Democrat Jason Crow: "I knew this was gonna be a tough race." He told supporters he paid a “political price” for Trump being in the White House. In this congressional district, in this race, it was a referendum on the president, he said. "The waves were too big for this ship to stay afloat." Meanwhile, Republican attorney general candidate George Brauchler says his race for attorney general is "too close to call." "We can still win this thing, I'm very optimistic. Keep the faith. Let's do this thing." —DS (@DavidASachs)

? 8:15 p.m.: Denver City Council President Jolon Clark, whose parks-funding Referred Measure 2A had a healthy lead in the 7 p.m. Denver Elections returns, says he'll wait until seeing the 8:30 returns to talk to press about it. —AT (@Allan_Tellis)

✅ 8:12 p.m.: Coffman is conceding. Watson, candidate for treasurer, has also conceded: "Our ideas shall not go away in the night, and we shall come back." —DS (@DavidASachs)

✅ 8:11 p.m.: Crow HQ is celebrating, waiting for speeches as Stapleton and presumably soon Polis make remarks. FULL STORY HERE. —DB (@donnaindenver)

✅ 8:06 p.m.: Walker Stapleton has conceded. "Though we came up short tonight, our fight and the ideas we advanced during the campaign were worth it. Though this has been a tough campaign, now is the time to come together as Coloradans." He has congratulated Polis. —DS (@DavidASachs)

⏳ 8 p.m.: Mike Hamrick, former Arapahoe County Democratic chair, just told the fired up crowd at Crow HQ: "As we say they've declared him the winner!" referring to media reports. "Happy" is playing on the sound system. We're told speeches are coming. —DB (@donnaindenver)

? 7:57 p.m.: Tony Pigford, one of the petitioners for 2E, the local campaign finance question, is feeling very confident with the early returns showing yes votes leading no votes 69 percent to 31 percent. "I'm really excited. I think there's a strong undercurrent of progressive energy in Denver," he said. "I think the city can become a true beacon of truly progressive values." —DS (@DavidASachs)

?️ 7:54 p.m.: Daniel Cole, Colorado GOP communications director: "We're disappointed. We're not winning these races at the moment, but it's not over." He said that "thoughtful people" were late to get their ballots in because it was so long. —DS (@DavidASachs)

? 7:53 p.m.: The first cheers we've heard at the GOP event tonight was for Amendment 73, education funding, losing by 13%. —DS (@DavidASachs)

⏳ 7:52 p.m.: NBC has also called CD6 for Democrat Jason Crow. See below. —DB (@daveburdick)

⏳ 7:45 p.m.: So ABC and NBC have both called the gov race for Polis. They're using the same service to count votes — Edison Research. As for us, we'll hang on before putting a checkmark on that race. Meanwhile, the Associated Press has said Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican, and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, will keep their seats. No surprise there. —DB (@daveburdick)

7:38 p.m.: NBC is calling Colorado's gubernatorial race for Polis. —EH (@EstebanHRZ)

? 7:32 p.m.: Kerry Cooner from Denver Tech Center is wearing a MAGA hat. He tell's me, "We've lost the governor's race." Asked what he's hopeful about locally, he pointed to Ted Cruz winning in Texas. —DS (@DavidASachs)

?️ 7:30 p.m.: According to Denver Elections, there are still people in line to vote at Montbello Rec Center, Denver Police D1, Harvey Park Rec Center, La Familia Rec Center, Denver Botanic Gardens, Carla Madison Rec Center, Union Station and Blair-Caldwell Library. —AD (@AshleyDean)

⏳ 7:29 p.m.: So Rep. Mike Coffman's 6th Congressional District is one that people all over the country are watching. More on that below, in the results section. The Secretary of State's website has his challenger, Democrat Jason Crow, leading 54.5 percent to 43 percent, with about 200,000 votes counted as of 7:25 p.m. Sounds good for Dems, right? It may well be! But 2016's race in this district saw more than 375,000 votes, so hang on to your party poppers. —DB (@daveburdick)

? 7:26 p.m.: More people sporting Crow buttons are arriving. Some are taking selfies on the ballroom floor. One, Judith Snyder, said she canvassed for Crow in southeast Aurora this morning and was disappointed that a lot of the 20-somethings on her list weren't home. But she knows at least one was planning to vote: "Because I talked to his mother." Snyder said she has been putting in a lot of time canvassing for Crow. "I feel this election is just so important. Trump needs to have a check put on him, and Jason will do that." —DB (@donnaindenver)

⌚️7:23 p.m.: Denver Elections says that as of 7:15 p.m., there are still voters in line at Montbello Rec Center, Denver Police D1, Harvey Park Rec Center, La Familia Rec Center, Denver Botanic Gardens, Carla Madison Rec Center, Union Station and Blair-Caldwell Library. As a reminder (in case you haven't heard it a million times already): anyone in line prior to 7 p.m. can vote and should stay in line until they do so. —AD (@AshleyDean)

? 7:15 p.m.: Thinking we're maybe going to repeal slavery this time, everybody. Amendment A needs 55 percent of people to vote "yes" for that to happen, and right now it's got 67 percent. —DB (@daveburdick)

?️ 7:06 p.m.: The first returns are in and we're updating below. You can of course read the raw numbers yourself here — statewide and Denver. —DB (@daveburdick)

6:51 p.m.: According to a tweet from the Colorado Secretary of State, 2,217,895 ballots were returned as of 6 p.m. Democrats: 732,700. Republicans: 725,464. Unaffiliated: 728,004. —AD (@AshleyDean)

? 6:41 p.m.: People are still trickling in at the GOP event at the Marriott in Lone Tree. There are several VIP rooms where candidates may or may not be. But the main hall is dominated by press. One Make America Great Again hat spotted. —DS (@DavidASachs)

? 6:31 p.m.: Gov. Hickenlooper talks to media. “This is not my first rodeo. I’m gonna wait until I see the returns come in and then I will jump up in glee.” —ET (@EstebanHRZ)

6:25 p.m.: Denver’s @RepDianaDeGette is here. “I feel cautiously optimistic and I think that after 2016 we don’t get overly ahead of ourselves.“ —ET (@EstebanHRZ)

? 6:16 p.m.: New figures from the Colorado Secretary of State, as of 5 p.m., show 2,133,397 ballots in. Democrats: 709,301. Republicans: 700,697. Unaffiliated: 693,669. —EH (@EstebanHRZ)

⌚ 6:13 p.m.: Gov. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Diana DeGette are among those already here at a mostly quiet Dem HQ. Polls close in Colorado in less than an hour. If you've already voted, kill some time by reading my last guv stories for @PolisForCO @WalkerStapleton —EH (@EstebanHRZ)

? 6:05 p.m.: Only reporters so far in the ballroom at the DoubleTree in Greenwood Village. Stage is set with a plexiglass lectern sporting Crow's yellow, white and blue election logo and a US flag the size of a multiplex movie screen for a background. Big (but not as big as the flag) screen TV are tuned to national election coverage, sound muted. We're told Team Crow won't be here until after the polls close.  —DB (@donnaindenver)

⛰️ 5:31 p.m.: In a brief lull, I was checking in on Denver's Seth Masket, who's liveblogging with FiveThirtyEight tonight. But it was another post that caught my eye — Colorado's 2nd CD (where Polis currently serves) is projected to have among the highest voter turnout among tonight's U.S. House races. We're also near the top for gubernatorial turnout projections. —DB (@daveburdick)

5:06 p.m.: I stopped by a polling place to see if there were still denverites voting. I did find some of yall voting, and shout out to yall but what I really found was CAPTAIN AMERICA helping denverites vote ?? —AT (@Allan_Tellis)

5:02 p.m.: People are still coming, en masse, to Denverite's ballot explainers. Welcome, new friends! Read quickly! —DB (@daveburdick)

?? 4:37 p.m.: Laura Peniche was not so concerned before the 2016 election, but the Dreamer, who can not vote, said she’s been dealing with anxiety and depression leading up to the midterm.

“It was the result of the election that woke me up to the reality that it’s important to vote,” she said. Now that she’s been “awakened,” she added, it’s a reminder “that my humanity is not fully recognized in this country.”

Peniche is originally from Mexico and has lived in the U.S. for 21 years. Since 2016, she’s been active in immigrants rights efforts across Denver. But that’s not the only area in which she wishes she could express her opinion through voting.

“I would like to have a voice in education, environmental issues and specifically, most importantly, I would like to have a voice in who our next governor is going to be,” she said.

A Stapleton win, she added, “could set back all the work that’s been done specifically for immigrants.” —KB (@KevinJBeaty)

?️ 4:21 p.m.: This year's midterm election turnout has already surpassed the 2014 election in absolute numbers, as of 2:30 p.m. Looks like Colorado will continue its streak of having among the highest voter turnout in the country. —EH (@EstebanHRZ)

Statewide races

✅ Governor — Jared Polis (D)

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The big one. Democrat Jared Polis vs. Republican Walker Stapleton. Stapleton conceded the race at about 8 p.m. Polis becomes the nation's first out gay man to be elected governor, and Colorado's first Jewish governor.

For updates: Follow Esteban, who'll be with the Dems, and David, who'll be with the Republicans.

✅ Attorney General — Phil Weiser (D)

Current Attorney General Cynthia Coffman gave up her chance to run for re-election when she ran for governor. Next up: Either Republican George Brauchler or Democrat Phil Weiser.

Brauchler is well known and Colorado has had Republican attorneys general since 2005 — a Weiser win would probably be an indication of the "blue wave" folks have been talking about.

Update: Brauchler conceded around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. The Democrats have swept Colorado's executive positions.

✅ Secretary of State — Jena Griswold (D)

Incumbent Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams faced a challenge from Democrat Jena Griswold. Williams conceded the race at about 9:30 p.m., saying "[Jena Griswold] is inheriting the finest secretary of state office in the United States of America." He claimed Colorado has the "highest voter registration in America and proved yet again, leading the nation in election turnout."

✅ Treasurer — Brian Young (D)

The current State Treasurer is Walker Stapleton, who's running for governor. That leaves room for Republican Dave Watson and Democrat Brian Young to duke it out tonight. Update: Watson conceded the race to Young just after 8 p.m.

The only Democrat to serve in this role in the last 20-plus years was Cary Kennedy, who Stapleton defeated in her 2010 re-election bid.

U.S. House of Representatives

✅ District 1 — Denver area — Diana DeGette (D)

It would have been historically shocking if Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat, did not win her 12th term here. The only suspense: Can she crack 70 percent of the vote?

✅ District 2 — Northern Colorado — Joe Neguse (D)

This is the seat Rep. Jared Polis currently occupies. Democrat Joe Neguse will almost surely be elected to replace him. The last time a Democrat earned less than 55 percent of the vote was 1998. His main opponent is Republican Peter Yu. The Associated Press called this race for Neguse around 8:30 p.m.

✅ District 3 — Pueblo and western Colorado — Scott Tipton (R)

Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican, has represented this district since 2011. This is considered the second-most competitive U.S. House race in Colorado -- but that's not saying much. His main challenger, Democrat Diane Mitsch Busch, isn't believed to have much of a chance.

✅ District 4 — Eastern Colorado — Ken Buck (R)

Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican, has held this seat since now-Sen. Cory Gardner vacated it. And he'll probably keep holding it. Update: Yep, the Associated Press called this race for Buck before 8 p.m.

✅ District 5 — Colorado Springs area — Doug Lamborn (R)

Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican, made it through a crowded primary challenge that included onetime Senate candidate Darryl Glenn. Lamborn earned more than 50 percent of the vote in that election, and he'll almost surely get nearly 60 in the general tonight against Democrat Stephanie Rose Spaulding. Update: The Associated Press called this race for Lamborn before 8 p.m.

✅ District 6 — Aurora, Brighton, south suburbs — Jason Crow (D)

U.S. House of Representatives incumbant Mike Coffman (left) and challenger Jason Crow. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This has long been Colorado's most competitive — only competitive? — race in this category. It's Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, who's served this district since 2009, vs. Democrat Jason Crow.

Update: Coffman conceded the race to Crow just after 8 p.m. FULL STORY HERE.

Since pretty early on, Crow has had a comfortable lead in various polls, but Coffman has survived many a challenge here. If you want to follow along as the results come in, David will be where Coffman is and Donna will be where Crow is.

✅ District 7 — Lakewood/Arvada/Westminster/Thornton — Ed Perlmutter (D)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, has represented this district since 2007. He was briefly in the race for governor -- then Polis happened. He'll probably cruise to a comfortable win over Republican challenger Mark Barrington. Update: The Associated Press called this race for Perlmutter before 8 p.m.

Statewide ballot initiatives

❌ Amendment 73 — The education funding one

Here's what we wrote about it. Needed 55 percent of the vote to pass, and as of 10:44 p.m., it didn't have 45.

❌ Amendment 74 — The one about compensating property owners

Here's what we wrote about it. Needed 55 percent of the vote to pass, and as of 10:44 p.m., it was hovering around 46.5.

❌ Amendment 75 — The one about dropping $1 million on campaigns

Here's what we wrote about it. Needed 55 percent of the vote to pass, and as of 10:44 p.m., it didn't have 35.

❌ Proposition 109 — The transportation one that mostly Republicans like

It looks like Colorado voters have rejected both transportation-focused initiatives. Here's Dave's full story.

❌ Proposition 110 — The transportation one that mostly Democrats like

Here's Dave's full story.

✅ Proposition 111 — The payday lenders one

Here's what we wrote about it. As of 8:50 p.m., it looks like it'll cruise to victory — yes votes currently lead no votes 76.6 percent to 23.4 percent.

❌ Proposition 112 — The fracking setbacks one

Here's what we wrote about it. As of 9:47 p.m., no votes lead yes votes 57.6 percent to 42.4 percent — that should just about do it.

❌ Amendment V — Raising the minimum age for state legislators to 21

Here's what we wrote about it. Needed 55 percent of the vote to pass and as of 9:49 p.m. didn't even have 35 percent. Boy did people not like this one! A referendum on young millennials? Pay no mind to the emoji sprinkled throughout this post.

⏳ Amendment W — Changing ballot wording about retaining judges

Here's what we wrote about it. Needs 55 percent of the vote to pass, and as of 10:47 p.m., it's got 53.21 percent.

✅ Amendment X — The industrial hemp definition one

Here's what we wrote about it. Needed 55 percent of the vote to pass, and as of 10:46 p.m., it had 60.7 percent.

✅ Amendment Y — The U.S. congressional district gerrymandering one

It's endorsed by Democrats and Republicans alike. Here's what we wrote about it. Needs 55 percent of the vote to pass, and as of 9:18 p.m. has about 71 percent.

✅ Amendment Z — The state legislature gerrymandering one

Here's what we wrote about it (it's the same piece as the Amendment Y one). Needs 55 percent of the vote to pass, and as of 9:18 p.m. has about 71 percent.

✅ Amendment A — The one about slavery

After Coloradans (maybe accidentally?) failed to remove slavery from the state constitution two years ago, who the hell knows what'll happen here? The language was clearer this time. Here's what we wrote about it. This needs 55 percent of the vote to pass, and the first returns suggested Colorado might repeal slavery! Yes votes led no votes 67 percent to 33 percent at 7:15 p.m.

Denver's 9 ballot initiatives

✅ Referred Measure 2A — The one about parks

Once 2A had a pretty healthy lead, City Council President Jolon Clark told Denverite via text, "If this passes, every park in Denver will feel it with improvements, and we will be able to, over time, ensure that every Denver resident has a world class park within a safe ten minute walk." He said Deputy Executive Director of Parks Scott Gilmore was with him and said, "This is the biggest thing for parks in Denver since Mayor Speer and the City Beautiful movement."

Here's what we wrote about it.

✅ Referred Measure 2B — The ballot measure about ballot measures

Here's what we wrote about it.

✅ Referred Measure 2C — The one about hiring police

Here's what we wrote about it.

✅ Referred Measure 2D — The one about Denver's director of elections

Here's what we wrote about it.

✅ Referred Measure 2E — The campaign finance one


Here's what we wrote about it.

? Initiated Ordinance 300 — The scholarships one

Here's what we wrote about it. As of 10:30 p.m., this one's close. "No" votes lead "yes" votes 50.25 percent to 49.75 percent.

✅ Initiated Ordinance 301 — The mental health one

This one had some of the most organized campaigning around it, and if any of the tax increases are to pass in Denver, you'd have to think this would be among them. Here's what we wrote about it.

✅ Initiated Ordinance 302 — The food one

Here's what we wrote about it.

✅ Ballot Issue 7G — The flood control district

Here's what the Denver Post wrote about it.

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