Weekly Policy Update: Key Takeaways from the 2022 Midterm Election

In Colorado State races, Democrats prevailed across the state. In fact, Democratic leaders expanded their political power and won by wide margins in all the statewide races. They increased their already large majorities in the General Assembly. In this election, the legislature retained some strong life sciences champions and lost others. Over the coming months, CBSA’s Policy + Advocacy team will work to ensure that the newly elected and re-elected officials understand the issues that are critical to our life sciences ecosystem.

Key Results

  • Colorado Governor: Incumbent Jared Polis (D) is re-elected, beating Heidi Ganahl by 17 points.
  • U.S. Senate Race: Incumbent Senator Michael Bennet (D) won his by his largest margin and defeated Joe O’Dea (R) by over 12 points.
  • U.S. House Races: For the Democratic party, incumbent Dianna DeGette (D) won CD 1 by over 60 points, incumbent Joe Neguse (D) won CD 2 by over 40 points, incumbent Jason Crow (D) won CD 6 by over 20 points, Brittany Pettersen (D) won by 17 points and Yadira Caraveo (D) wins competitive District 8 seat.
    • For the Republican Party, incumbent Ken Buck (R) won CD 4 by over 20 points, and Doug Lamborn (R) won CD 5 by 15 points.
    • The CD3 race between incumbent Lauren Boebert (R) and challenger Adam Frisch (D) remains too close to call.  
  • CO State Senate Outcome: The Democrats have expanded their large majority.
  • CO State House: Like the Senate, the Democrats have also expanded their already large majority.

State Election Overview

Democrats campaigned on reducing costs of housing and childcare while boosting education funding. The party prevailed in five Republican-held districts, including open seats in the traditionally conservative areas of Colorado Springs and Douglas County.

The Republican party suffered the loss of a business and life sciences advocate with the passing of House Minority Leader Hugh McKean of Loveland less than two weeks before the election. Republicans who campaigned on economic and business issues above social issues lost their races. In fact, in the Colorado State Senate, Sen. Rob Woodward of Loveland, who had sponsored two bills to allow LLCs and S corporations to take advantage of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax cuts, lost his redrawn seat to educator democrat, Janice Marchman.

In the State House, supporter and advocate of the Colorado life sciences industry, Rep. Colin Larson of Jefferson County was a top contender to become minority leader but lost to Sen. Tammy Story who decided against seeking reelection in her Senate seat and to go for the House seat.

State Caucus Leadership

Colorado State Republican and Democratic caucuses met on November 11th to pick new leadership.  

In the House, both parties will have new leaders. The House voted and is confirmed that Rep. Julie McCluskie of Dillion will be the next Speaker of the House. Speaker-elect McCluskie beat out Reps. Adrienne Benavidez and Chris Kennedy for the top seat. She takes over from term-limited Alec Garnett and can potentially lead the caucus for the next four years and will determine the direction of the House caucus. Rep. Monica Duran of Wheat Ridge will be the next Majority Leader and Rep. Jennifer Bacon of Denver was voted Assistant Majority leader. Reps. Andrew Boesenecker of Fort Collins and Iman Jodeh of Aurora were unopposed to be Co-Whips and Reps. Mandy Lindsay of Aurora and Brianna Titone of Arvada will be the Caucus Co-Chairs.  

Speaker McCluskie has appointed members to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) which includes Vice Chair of the JBC Rep. Shannon Bird of Westminster and Rep. Emily Sirota of Denver will also serve on the JBC. Finally we will wait to hear who Speaker McCluskie still appoints to Speaker Pro-Tem.  

On the Republican side, Rep. Mike Lynch of Wellington was selected by the House GOP caucus to serve as minority leader and Rep. Rose Pugliese of Colorado Springs will be the assistant minority leader. Rep. Richard Holtorf of Akron will be the House minority whip and Rep. Rod Bockenfeld, of Watkins will be the House GOP’s representative on the Joint Budget Committee. The minority caucus chair will be Mary Bradfield of Colorado Springs.  

In the Colorado Senate, Boulder Democrat Steve Fenberg was reelected as president of the chamber. Senate majority leader Dominic Moreno of Commerce City was reelected to his post, while Sen. Julie Gonzales of Denver was elected the caucus whip and Sen. James Coleman of Denver was selected to serve as Senate president pro tem. The Democratic caucus chose Sen. Robert Rodriguez of Denver to serve as assistant majority leader and Sen. Janet Buckner of Aurora to serve as majority caucus chair. The Senate Democrats’ two JBC members will be Jeff Bridges of Greenwood Village and Chair of the JBC, Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada.  

On the Republican side, Sen. Paul Lundeen of Monument will serve as minority leader, Sen. Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs will serve as assistant minority leader. We will also see Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer of Weld County serving as minority whip, Sen. Jim Smallwood of Parker serving as minority caucus chair, and Sen. Bob Rankin of Carbondale will continue to represent the caucus on the JBC.  

For the most updated information on election results:

CO U.S. House of Representatives

Colorado State House

Colorado State Senate

All other CO races

Election Recap as of Wednesday, November 9 Courtesy of Colorado Legislative Strategies 

State Senate – Pending Results

Senate District 3 – Quasi-incumbent Nick Hinrichsen (D) is leading Stephen Varela (R) by 5 points. The margin for this Pueblo district matches its partisan advantage but many thought that Varela would have a chance of winning. 

Senate District 8 – Dylan Roberts (D) is leading Matt Solomon (R) by 9 points. Roberts overperformed the partisan advantage by 3 points in this northwest Colorado district. 

Senate District 11 – Tony Exum (D) is leading Dennis Hisey (R) by 6 points. Exum overperformed the partisan advantage by 4 points in a Colorado Springs district that many thought Hisey had a chance to win. 

Senate District 15 – Janice Marchman (D) is leading incumbent Rob Woodward (R) by 3 points. Marchman leading is a big shock as many thought Woodward had the best Republican chance to win this evenly divided Larimer county district. 

Senate District 20 – Lisa Cutter (D) is leading Tim Walsh (R) by 11 points. Cutter is overperforming the partisan advantage by 4 points in this northwest Jefferson County district. 

Senate District 24 – Kyle Mullica (D) is leading Courtney Potter (R) by 12 points. Mullica is overperforming the partisan advantage by 3 points in this Thornton area district. 

Senate District 27 – Tom Sullivan (D) is leading Tom Kim (R) by 11 points. Sullivan is overperforming the partisan advantage by 6 points in this Arapahoe County district. 

State House

House District 13 – Incumbent Julie McCluskie (D) won a race that many thought could have been closer. McCluskie beat David Buckley (R) by 17 points. 

House District 18 – Incumbent Marc Snyder (D) won what many thought would be a very close race. Snyder beat Shana Black (R) by 8 points. 

House District 26 – Meghan Lukens (D) beat Savannah Wolfson (R) by 7 points. 

House District 28 – Sheila Lieder (D) beat Dan Montoya (R) by 7 points. 

House District 38 – Incumbent David Ortiz (D) beat Jaylen Mosqueira (R) by 13 points. 

House District 57 – Elizabeth Velasco (D) beat incumbent Perry Will (R) by 9 points. 

House District 59 – Incumbent Barbara McLachlan (D) beat Shelli Shaw (R) by 13 points. 

State House – Pending Results

House District 16 – Stephanie Vigil (D) is leading Dave Donelson (R) by less than 3 points. If she holds on this will be a Democratic pickup as Andres Pico (R) held this seat last session. 

House District 19 – Jennifer Parenti (D) is leading incumbent Dan Woog (R) by 4 points. This will also be a Democratic pickup and a big loss for Republicans if this margin holds. 

House District 25 – Senator Tammy Story (D) is leading incumbent Colin Larson (R) by 3 points. This is perhaps the biggest upset in the House. Colin Larson was expected to take over as the next leader of the caucus and this district slightly favors Republicans. 

House District 43 – Bob Marshall (D) is leading quasi-incumbent Kurt Huffman (R) by 1 point. This could be another Democratic pickup as this is the seat formerly held by Kevin Van Winkle.

House District 50 – Incumbent Mary Young (D) is leading Ryan Gonzalez (R) by 2 points. 

House District 61 – Eliza Hamrick (D) is leading Dave Woolever (R) by 3 points. 

Other Races

State Board of Education –

  • Kathy Plomer (D) beat Dan Maloit (R) for the new statewide seat by 8 points.
  • The Republican incumbent won in CD 5 and the Democrat incumbent won in CD 6.
  • Rhonda Solis (D) is leading Peggy Propst (R) in the new CD 8 seat by 1 point.  (Pending)

University of Colorado Regents

  • Wanda James (D) won big in CD 1
  • Frank McNulty (R) won big in CD 4
  • Mark VanDriel (R) is leading Yolanda Ortega (D) by under 3 points in the new CD 8 seat. (Pending)

Regional Transportation District – Two won unopposed, and two others won by large margins.

Judges – Lastly, all of the judges were retained with roughly between 60-80 percent of the vote.

Categories: CBSA News