Colorado’s conservative bastion, the 5th Congressional District, held fast in Tuesday’s midterm election as Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn won his seventh term.
As of 8:30 p.m., Lamborn had collected 58.44 percent of the vote, compared to the 38.34 percent collected by his Democratic challenger, Stephany Rose Spaulding, the Secretary of State’s Office reported.
Lamborn’s victory fell in line with the district’s historical tilt, even as a widely predicted Democratic wave upset political races across Colorado. That heavy Democratic turnout helped Democratic challenger Jason Crow unseat Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado’s 6th District.
Fashionably late to the local Republican watch party at the Colorado Springs Country Club, 3333 Templeton Gap Rd., Lamborn said he was pleased to win by 20 points and put the race behind him.
“It feels good to have endured the blue wave, at least here in Colorado Springs,” Lamborn said. “We’ll see before the evening is out who is in control of the House.”
Regardless of which party holds the House majority, Lamborn said he will continue to work for the people of the 5th District, which includes El Paso, Teller, Chaffee and Fremont counties and part of Park County.
Lamborn said a top priority is partnering with President Donald Trump’s administration to establish a Space Command at Fort Peterson.
“We’ve got a good shot at landing that here,” he said.
Few political experts believed Spaulding could unseat Lamborn. Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1 in the district, according to data from the Secretary of State’s Office.
After hearing the election results, Spaulding stood stoic in a Democratic watch party downtown and said she might consider another run in 2020.
“We’re still victorious,” Spaulding said. “We moved the needle. If he wasn’t on notice before he is now.”
But this story has played out with Lamborn before.
Even in 2006, when a similar blue wave shook the state, unseating many Republican incumbents, Lamborn’s Democratic opponent, Jay Fawcett, still only received 40.4 percent of the vote.
Even with an uphill battle ahead of her, Spaulding went on the offensive - even garnering national attention and her own dessert flavor from supporters and ice cream moguls Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield - while Lamborn largely maintained radio silence.
“She was the challenger. It was up to her to get that name recognition,” Lamborn said. “I didn’t want to give her an extra boost in that regard.”
Despite national support and recognition for his opponent, Lamborn’s re-election was practically set. The national election forecast blog FiveThirtyEight maintained he had a 98 percent chance of retaining his seat.
In addition, the Republican incumbent’s pocketbook was deeper. As of mid-October, Lamborn had raised $699,736 to Spaulding’s $337,544 and spent $753,466 to Spaulding’s $268,693, according to campaign finance data filed with the Federal Elections Commission.
The argument for Lamborn was simple: Spaulding’s priorities in office would mean higher taxes and greater regulation for 5th District residents. Those increased burdens would have amounted to reduced defense spending, stifling growth in the district.
Lamborn warned Tuesday night that if U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is reinstated as Speaker of the House, trouble would follow.
“She will be overreaching,” he said. “If past history is any indication of what will happen in January, my friends across the aisle will overreach and push for extreme measures that the country will not accept.”