DENVER — Colorado Democrats strengthened their hold on political offices in the state in the 2022 midterm election, as incumbents held their seats across the board and the party looks poised to pick up seats in the General Assembly.
The 2022 election is the third straight strong election for Democrats in Colorado, who took hold of the top four statewide offices and General Assembly in 2018 and have built on those wins since.
After Democrats flipped the U.S. Senate seat in 2020 from Republican Cory Gardner to Democrat John Hickenlooper, they looked to keep hold of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s seat this year, the top statewide offices, the General Assembly, and to win two open congressional seats. And those hopes held up.
Though ballots are still being counted for the next week or so, many of the Democrats hold wide leads in their races and have been projected to win since Tuesday night:
- U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet leads Joe O’Dea by 11 percentage points in the U.S. Senate race.
- Gov. Jared Polis leads Heidi Ganahl by 16 percentage points in the governor’s race.
- Phil Weiser leads John Kellner by 8 percentage points in the attorney general’s race.
- Jena Griswold leads Pam Anderson by 10 percentage points in the secretary of state’s race.
- Dave Young leads Lang Sias by 7 percentage points in the treasurer’s race.
- Joe Neguse leads Marshall Dawson by 40 percentage points in the 2nd Congressional District race.
- Jason Crow leads Steven Monahan by 23 percentage points in the 6th Congressional District race.
Democrat Brittany Pettersen ran away with the open 7th Congressional District race in a seat long held by Rep. Ed Perlmutter. She leads Republican Erik Aadland by 14 percentage points.
And Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer conceded to Democrat Dr. Yadira Caraveo in the 8th Congressional District race, the open and new seat in Colorado.
And in perhaps the biggest surprise of the election, Democrat Adam Frisch is neck-and-neck with Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in the 3rd Congressional District, still separated by a few hundred votes as of midday Thursday and potentially headed for a recount.
Even if Frisch loses, he outperformed expectations in a district Boebert won by 6 points in 2020 and which is a +9 Republican district after redistricting based on an average of statewide elections since 2016.
He said in an interview Wednesday that he didn’t want to get over his skis in terms of where the final results might land, but he wouldn’t be surprised either way in a tight race. He said he felt he and his team ran “one of the best campaigns in the country.”
“I won’t be surprised if, obviously, we ended up losing. But again, I like where we are — in a good spot,” he said. “But I had a good game plan and I thought about it. And I did the analysis. And I thought that I could actually build a coalition with a good team, and we’ve done that.”
In a new statement Thursday afternoon, Frisch said he was still waiting for every ballot to be counted in the race.
"Every vote matters in this incredibly close race and thousands of votes in Pueblo County and from military and overseas voters remain, and a considerable number of curable ballots remain as well," Frisch said. "It is crucial for our democracy to count every vote and I have full confidence in the 27 county clerks in this district to conduct a fair count. While I remain confident, I will ultimately respect the results of this election regardless of the outcome."
Republicans also came in hopeful to pick up seats in the state House and Senate. But the results as of Thursday afternoon, if they hold, would have Democrats picking up two seats in the Senate and five seats in the House, for a 23-12 advantage in the Senate and a 46-19 advantage in the House. Several of those races still have not been called.
Democrats and Republicans are voting on new leadership in the General Assembly on Thursday as ballots continue to be counted. But the general sentiment among Democrats and political analysts is the Democrats fared as,, or better than, expected.
“You definitely get the sense that Democrats overperformed, and Republicans underperformed, with respect to Colorado,” said Dr. Anand Sokhey, the labor director at the University of Colorado American Politics Research Lab.