Democrat John Salazar, who had held the Third Congressional District seat since 2005, lost to Republican Scott Tipton, who vacated his seat in the Colorado House of Representatives to run against Salazar.
Sen. Michael Bennet, who was appointed to his seat, was one of the few Democrats in a tightly contested race to come out on top. He beat social conservative Ken Buck in one of the most expensive contests for a U.S. Senate seat in the nation.
John Hickenlooper recognized he was one of the luckiest politicians around when Colorado’s Republicans splintered after the Republican frontrunner for their party’s nomination Scott McInnis (who represented the Third Congressional District before Salazar) was undone by a plagiarism scandal. Don Maes won the Republican primary for governor, inspiring former Congressman Tom Tancredo to run on the American Constitution Party Ticket, essentially splitting the conservative vote and paving the way for Hickenlooper’s landslide victory.
Both houses of the Colorado General Assembly were controlled by the Dems prior to the November election, but Republicans made major gains. Republicans took the House, 33 seats to 32, while Dems retained control of the Senate, 20 to 15. One of the Senate seats lost belonged to Bruce Whitehead in the 6th Senate District; he was defeated by Ellen Roberts of Durango. The 58th House District seat, which has been held by Republicans for decades, was won by Republican Don Coram of Montrose over San Miguel County Democrat Wes Perrin.
In a very narrow victory, Republican Mike Fedel ousted incumbent Ouray County Commissioner Keith Meinert.