Colorado Democrats re-elect state director |

Colorado Democrats re-elect state director

Jessica Fender
The Denver Post

The unanimous support for state Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak on Sunday was a far cry from her first election to that position four years ago, when the upstart eked by a sitting chairman with just four votes.

The central committee’s resounding change of heart as Waak sought a third term came as no surprise.

The Democrats control both state legislative chambers and the governor’s seat, just graduated two of their own to U.S. Senate positions, carried the state for President Barack Obama and registered 240,000 new Democrats in the process.

Waak said she can provide some continuity as party leaders work to bring new voters into the fold, and she credited her team of county chairs for the successful run.

“People get a little superstitious and say ‘Let’s not change while we’re winning,’ ” Waak said.

The entire slate of state party leaders won re-election Sunday, making Waak the first person in 40 years to win a third term in her position, officials said.

Also speaking up Sunday was a handful of Colorado’s Democratic congressional delegation, who emphasized the importance of the 2010 election, which will affect redistricting. They touted their bench, bashed the recently departed Bush administration and issued calls to action.

“With redistricting looming, this election is just as important as the one we came through,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.

Waak, who presided over the meeting, started her political career as a campaign volunteer in college in 1964.

She has served as a fundraiser for former presidential candidate George McGovern, been active in the Peace Corps, developed public-policy programs for the Audubon Society and served as the United States delegate to the United Nations on population and environmental issues.

She came to Colorado 16 years ago and was tapped to be the dark-horse candidate who unseated Chris Gates in 2005.

She said Sunday that there’s still much work to be done with Colorado so frequently in the national spotlight.

“The West is changing, and Colorado is a gateway to the West,” Waak said. “It’s a whole different era.”

Republican state party leadership elections come up March 21, where Chairman Dick Wadhams faces off against former Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone.

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