One word summed up the mood at a Nov. 5 Capitol victory rally for Gov. John Hickenlooper.
"Phew," the governor said while making a motion with his hand as if to wipe away sweat.
After a …
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After a bruising night for Democrats in Colorado and nationwide, Hickenlooper's razor thin re-election win over Republican Bob Beauprez was one of the few things the blue party had to celebrate following the results from Election Night.
Results in the gubernatorial race were not known until the morning after the election. After trailing for much of the evening the night before, Hickenlooper eventually was able to squeak out a win after pulling ahead in the wee hours of the morning.
"I think I can now demonstrate that one, even with almost no sleep, can still feel great joy," he said.
As of 11 a.m on Nov. 5, Hickenlooper held about a 1 percentage point lead, with 94 percent of the precincts reporting. He was leading Beauprez by about 25,000 votes.
Most of the remaining votes were in counties that were backing Hickenlooper.
Beauprez had not conceded victory by the time Hickenlooper had given his victory speech, nor had the campaign issued a statement regarding the results.
It was expected to be a very close race and the contest lived up to its billing.
For months, Beauprez, a former congressman, hammered at Hickenlooper's record and blasted him for "failing to lead" on key issues including the death penalty and fracking.
Helping Beauprez during his campaign were Hickenlooper's own words. The governor at times found himself walking back comments he made throughout the campaign, including remarks regarding gun control legislation that he gave to a group of sheriffs over the summer.
And Beauprez was helped by a national Republican wave that swept through Colorado and allowed the GOP to take over a U.S. Senate race here and to keep statewide offices that include attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.
But from the beginning, Hickenlooper focused his campaign on his stewardship over a state economy that has picked up steam under his watch. And he maintained a quirky, affable personality on the stump while keeping his promise to voters that he would never run a negative campaign ad, despite some of the groups backing him doing so.
"I am so proud that we were able to run a positive campaign," Hickenlooper said. "But we could not have done it without the encouragement of the people of Colorado."
Hickenlooper thanked his family and staff and supporters. He also thanked Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for his service, several hours after Udall lost his re-election bid to Republican Congressman Cory Gardner.
The governor said Gardner called him that morning to congratulate him on the victory.
"He said, 'We're going to be able to work together very well,' " Hickenlooper said. "We're going to do everything we can to move this state forward."
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