GOP Wins Colorado House Seat by 121 Votes
Republican Bob Beauprez won Colorado’s new House seat by just 121 votes Tuesday after a recount to settle one of the nation’s last undecided congressional races.
Beauprez received 81,789 votes and Democrat Mike Feeley ended up with 81,668 votes in the suburban Denver district. Secretary of State Donetta Davidson announced the results after three counties completed the recount triggered automatically by the race’s slim margin.
The GOP victory means the new breakdown of the House will be 229 Republicans and 204 Democrats, with one independent and a seat in Hawaii still to be determined. The late Rep. Patsy T. Mink (D-Hawaii) was elected posthumously on Nov. 5. Hawaii voters will choose her replacement Jan. 4.
With five weeks of uncertainty over, Feeley called Beauprez to congratulate him.
“Best of luck as you embark on your new adventure,” Feeley said he told his opponent. Both men went through freshman orientation for House members in Washington.
Beauprez said the five-week delay was grueling, but that it was important that the election process be accurate.
“It’s not my druthers but before we speed up the count, accuracy is more important,” he said.
The 7th District was created this year because of population growth and was evenly divided among Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. The race was rated a tossup.
At the end of election day, Beauprez led by 386 votes, but clerks in the three counties were ordered by a judge to count every qualified provisional ballot. When those returns were released, Beauprez led Feeley by 122 votes. The recount cost him a single vote.
The election was Colorado’s first with provisional ballots, which are cast by voters whose names are not on official registration rolls. It is up to election officials to determine later whether the ballot is valid.
Feeley sued, contending election officials in the three counties were not using the same standards to decide whether the ballots were valid.
One county counted all provisional ballots whose voters were deemed qualified; the other two didn’t count ballots whose voters failed to explain why they voted under special circumstances.
Denver District Judge William Robbins ruled that all ballots cast by qualified voters should be counted.
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