As of late Tuesday, it appeared that Colorado’s next governor, treasurer and secretary of state will all be Democrats, and the Democrat running for attorney general held a narrow lead.
Perhaps the biggest upset of the bunch is Democratic political newcomer Jena Griswold, who defeated Republican incumbent Secretary of State Wayne Williams.
Griswold received a congratulatory concession call from Williams just before 9:30 p.m. as she mingled with supporters in a hospitality suite across the lobby from the state Democrats’ overflowing election night watch party.
Moments later, she leaped onto a chair and pumped her fist in the air to quiet the crowd. “We won!” she said, adding that she was proud to be the first Democrat elected to be Colorado’s secretary of state in 60 years. “We’re not going to let the politics of fear divide us,” she said.
Democratic treasurer candidate Dave Young clinched his victory a few minutes later as Republican candidate Brian Watson called to concede. Young held a more solid lead over Watson with 50.09 percent and 47.43 percent of the vote, respectively.
“We’re thrilled with the results and thrilled that we’ve run a very lean race and managed to be successful,” Young said.
He acknowledged that the Democratic wave had something to do with his win.
“There’s some momentum,” Young said “I think people are ready for a change. I think some responsibility comes with that. I was in the House when we held both chambers; you want to be very careful with that. You represent everyone in the state. You want to be sure you are doing a job of governance that does, in fact, represent everyone in the state. That’s how I’m going to approach this as treasurer.”
The slimmest margin of the group belongs to the race between the attorney general candidates. At press time, Democrat Phil Weiser held 49.04 percent of the vote to Republican George Brauchler’s 48.2 percent.
Diana Noyes, a spokeswoman for Weiser’s campaign, declined to comment on the Democratic candidate’s narrow lead Tuesday evening.
Griswold, an attorney, gained traction with voters by portraying Williams as quick to release voter information to President Trump’s administration. She also far outraised Williams in the campaign, tripling his contributions by collection nearly $1 million. She spent much of that money on TV ads, promising to safeguard Coloradans’ right to vote.
Williams had attempted to safeguard his position by pointing to his track record in the office and pointing to reports from The Washington Post that called Colorado “the safest state to cast a vote.”
Like Griswold, Brauchler attempted to lean on his experience to gin up support. He is district attorney in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District and portrayed Weiser as seriously lacking courtroom experience. But Weiser gained a following with his pledges to defend the Affordable Care Act, protect public lands and fight the separation of immigrant families at the border. Weiser is a former University of Colorado Law School dean and former official in the Department of Justice under Presidents Obama and Clinton.
Weiser had painted Brauchler as unwilling to defend the rights of Coloradans in the face of President Donald Trump’s administration.
In the treasurer’s race, Young, a state representative from Greeley, relied on his experience in the statehouse to garner votes, painting Watson, a professional real estate investor, as a candidate who would bring conflicts of interest into the office and stretch himself too thin with his private business enterprises.