Incumbent Kerry Donovan leads early in race for State Senate District 5 | VailDaily.com | VailDaily.com

Incumbent Kerry Donovan has commanding lead in race for State Senate District 5

EAGLE COUNTY — Going into the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election, State Sen. Kerry Donovan said she was confident of re-election but quickly added, "Anything can happen in this district."

Kerry Donovan

Just past 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Donovan led Republican challenger Olen Lund by about 11,000 votes, 34,930 to 23,942. The 58,872 ballots already counted exceeded the vote total from Donovan's 2014 race for the state senate.

In early results from Eagle County, the Vail native was carrying the vote by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin.

State Senate District 5 is composed of some of the state's most liberal and conservative enclaves in Eagle, Pitkin, Delta, Gunnison, Chaffee, Hinsdale and Lake counties. The district also includes some of the state's most wealthy zip codes and some of its poorest.

In the 2014 election,

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running for what was then an open seat, Donovan, an Eagle County Democrat, trailed election night, but eventually eked out a victory over Don Suppes, a Republican from Delta County.

This year, Donovan ran as an incumbent. She was challenged by Lund, of Paonia, a former two-term Delta County commissioner and, like Donovan, a life-long resident of his home county.

Both candidates drove thousands of miles across the district while they were campaigning. By Lund's reckoning, he'd driven more

than 17,000 miles by early October. Donovan also drove thousands of miles through the district.

Speaking by phone Tuesday evening, Donovan, a former Vail Town Council member, called her re-election an "honor" and pledged to take to Denver many of the issues she'd heard about while talking with district residents. The top item on Donovan's to-do list is reducing health care costs in the individual market, she said.

Once the disposition of the Colorado Senate is determined — Republicans held a one-seat majority going into Tuesday's election, but Democrats were poised to re-take the chamber — Donovan said she'd begin working on how to address health care, transportation and other issues.

On Tuesday, Donovan said her hope was to work with both Governor-elect Jared Polis and a state legislature with Democratic majorities in both houses.

"When I think about the number of bills the Republican Senate has killed, I would be excited to work in a Democratic Senate to get those bills passed," Donovan said.

That work will start quickly, she said.

"We'll figure out the team, and those conversations will start in the next 48 to 72 hours," she said. "I can't wait to continue this work."

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.