Colorado State Senate elections, 2014

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Colorado State Senate elections, 2014

Majority controlQualifications
List of candidates
District 1District 2District 3District 5District 6District 7District 9District 11District 13District 15District 16District 19District 20District 22District 24District 30District 32District 34
State Legislative Election Results

Colorado State Senate2014 Colorado House Elections
BattlegroundRace.jpg

In Colorado, the Republican Party set its sights on claiming the upper house, breaking the state's Democratic trifecta. The Democrats held a one-seat majority in the Senate, and 13 of the 18 seats up for election featured two major party candidates. A shift in the balance was expected to come down to one county, and Republicans did ultimately win enough seats to flip the chamber.[1][2]

A Republican win in the Colorado State Senate, even without wins in the lower house or the governor's mansion, was key, according to former Republican Speaker of the House Frank McNulty. He said,

If we pick up the Senate and nothing else, we return to 2011 and 2012, where nothing bad happens.[3]

—Frank McNulty, [1]

President of the Senate Morgan Carroll, a Democrat, told the New York Times that if Gov. John Hickenlooper lost re-election and the Democrats lost the Senate, it would be a step back for her party's legislative advances, such as same-sex marriage. The Republican victory may also have implications for state gun policy; Democrats have staved off GOP attempts to repeal gun laws. Two Democrats have been recalled and one resigned amid controversy over their support for gun control.[1]

The Colorado Senate was one of 20 state legislative chambers noted by Ballotpedia staff as being a 2014 battleground chamber. Its partisan difference of one seat amounted to 5.6 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, when 16 districts were up for election, a total of six districts were competitive or mildly competitive. Two of those districts, District 19 and District 22, were up for election again in 2014. Both of those districts had a margin of victory of 5 percent or less in 2012.

Elections for the office of Colorado State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 24, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 31, 2014.

Following the general election, the Republican Party gained control of the Colorado State Senate. Previously held by the Democrats with a 1-seat margin 18-17, the Republicans reversed the make-up of the chamber. The Republicans now have 18 seats, and the Democrats have 17 seats. The Republican gains broke the state's Democratic trifecta.

Incumbents retiring

A total of six incumbents did not run for re-election in 2014. Those incumbents were:

Name Party Current Office
Greg Brophy Ends.png Republican Senate District 1
Gail Schwartz Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 5
Steve King Ends.png Republican Senate District 7
Scott Renfroe Ends.png Republican Senate District 13
Lois Tochtrop Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 24
Ted Harvey Ends.png Republican Senate District 30

Majority control

See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Heading into the November 4 election, the Democratic Party held a slim majority in the Colorado State Senate:

Colorado State Senate
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 18 17
     Republican Party 17 18
Total 35 35

Qualifications

Candidate ballot accecss
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Article 5, Section 4 of the Colorado Constitution states: No person shall be a representative or senator who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, who shall not be a citizen of the United States, who shall not for at least twelve months next preceding his election, have resided within the territory included in the limits of the county or district in which he shall be chosen; provided, that any person who at the time of the adoption of this constitution, was a qualified elector under the territorial laws, shall be eligible to the first general assembly.

Competitiveness

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 5 (27.8%) of the 18 districts up for election in 2014, there was only one major party candidate running for election. Five Republicans were guaranteed election barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates faced off in the general election in 13 (72.2%) of the 18 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

No incumbents faced primary competition on June 24. Six incumbents did not seek re-election in 2014 and another 12 (66.7%) incumbents advanced past the primary without opposition.

Retiring incumbents

Six (33.3%) incumbent senators did not run for re-election, while 12 (66.7%) ran for re-election. A list of those incumbents, two Democrats and four Republicans, can be found above.

Context

Heading into the elections, the Democrats controlled the State Senate by the smallest possible margin of one seat. The 2013 recalls of Senate President John Morse (D) and Angela Giron (D) were followed by the attempted recall and resignation of Evie Hudak (D). All three petitions were fueled by gun control legislation passed by the chamber during the 2013 session. Morse and Giron were replaced by Republicans Bernie Herpin and George Rivera, respectively, while Hudak's resignation allowed a Democratic vacancy committee to fill her seat with Rachel Zenzinger (D) and prevent a Republican majority. All three seats were up for election in 2014.

The Colorado State Senate was identified by Louis Jacobson of Governing magazine as one of 17 chambers that were "vulnerable to a change in control in November." Jacobson rated the State Senate contest in Colorado as a "tossup." It was one of four state senates held by a Democratic Party majority that Jacobson rated as tossups; the others being Iowa, Nevada and New York.[4]

Races to watch

Analysts believed that the two seats up for election in Jefferson County would determine the majority party in 2015. Political analyst Eric Sondermann called Jefferson County "the epicenter of Colorado politics." State Republican Party chair Ryan Call called the county a microcosm of the state, with an even split between Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated registered voters. Call believed that District 19 held more promise for Republicans than District 22.[2]

The primary campaigns were closely contested as well, with the gun-rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) endorsing one candidate in each primary and attacking the other for not being conservative enough. RMGO endorsed Woods and Sanchez before stating in an email that since the other candidates did not fill out their anti-gun survey, RMGO assumed they would "vote anti-gun if elected." Nicolais defended himself from the criticism, referencing his concealed carry permit. Sias pointed to his high marks from the National Rifle Association to deflect the accusation. Both RMGO-endorsed candidates won their primary.[2]

List of candidates

District 1

Note: Incumbent Greg Brophy (R) did not run for re-election.

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • No candidates filed to run.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Constitution Party Constitution Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Republican Party Jerry Sonnenberg: 45,689 Green check mark transparent.png
Constitution Party Doug Aden: 7,876

District 2

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • No candidates filed to run.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Green Party Green Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Republican Party Kevin J. Grantham: 38,895 Green check mark transparent.png
Green Party Martin T. Wirth: 13,019

District 3

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
  • George Rivera Approveda - Incumbent Rivera first assumed office in 2013.

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Leroy M. Garcia, Jr.: 27,813 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party George Rivera: 22,814

District 5

Note: Incumbent Gail Schwartz (D) did not run for re-election.

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Libertarian Party Libertarian Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Kerry Donovan: 27,526 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Don Suppes: 26,225
Libertarian Party Lee Mulcahy: 2,374

District 6

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • No candidates filed to run.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:

November 4 General election candidates:

Republican Party Ellen S. Roberts: 43,482 Green check mark transparent.png

District 7

Note: Incumbent Steve King (R) did not run for re-election.

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Claudette J. Konola: 16,506
Republican Party Ray Scott: 39,580 Green check mark transparent.png

District 9

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • No candidates filed to run.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
  • Kent Lambert Approveda - Incumbent Lambert first assumed office in 2011.

November 4 General election candidates:

Republican Party Kent Lambert: 53,867 Green check mark transparent.png

District 11

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
  • Bernie Herpin Approveda - Incumbent Herpin first assumed office in 2013.
Libertarian Party Libertarian Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Michael Merrifield: 18,815 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Bernie Herpin: 14,978
Libertarian Party Norman "Paotie" Dawson: 2,282

District 13

Note: Incumbent Scott Renfroe (R) did not run for re-election.

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Joe Perez: 14,879
Republican Party John Cooke: 26,063 Green check mark transparent.png

District 15

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • No candidates filed to run.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:

November 4 General election candidates:

Republican Party Kevin Lundberg: 47,581 Green check mark transparent.png

District 16

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Jeanne Nicholson: 33,734
Republican Party Tim Neville: 35,631 Green check mark transparent.png

District 19

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Libertarian Party Libertarian Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Rachel Zenzinger: 29,244
Republican Party Laura J. Woods: 29,907 Green check mark transparent.png
Libertarian Party Gregg Miller: 3,664

District 20

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • Cheri Jahn Approveda - Incumbent Jahn first assumed office in 2011.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Libertarian Party Libertarian Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Cheri Jahn: 33,543 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Larry Queen: 33,104
Libertarian Party Chris Heismann: 5,018

District 22

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • Andy Kerr Approveda - Incumbent Kerr first assumed office in 2013.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Andy Kerr: 30,510 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Tony Sanchez: 29,174

District 24

Note: Incumbent Lois Tochtrop (D) did not run for re-election.

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Judy Solano: 25,268
Republican Party Beth Martinez Humenik: 26,164 Green check mark transparent.png

District 30

Note: Incumbent Ted Harvey (R) did not run for re-election.

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Libertarian Party Libertarian Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Bette Davis: 21,566
Republican Party Chris Holbert: 39,897 Green check mark transparent.png
Libertarian Party Eric Price: 2,359

District 32

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • Irene Aguilar Approveda - Incumbent Aguilar first assumed office in 2011.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Libertarian Party Libertarian Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Irene Aguilar: 35,852 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Dawne Murray: 17,356
Libertarian Party Darrell Dinges: 2,560

District 34

Democratic Party June 24 Democratic primary:
  • Lucia Guzman Approveda - Incumbent Guzman first assumed office in 2010.
Republican Party June 24 Republican primary:
Libertarian Party Libertarian Party candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

Democratic Party Lucia Guzman: 31,889 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Stuart Siffring: 8,390
Libertarian Party Brian Scriber: 2,592

See also

External links

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References