Obama wins Colorado; Udall claims victory | VailDaily.com

Obama wins Colorado; Udall claims victory

Laura Frank
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado “-Barack Obama won Colorado, taking key counties such as Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer by more than 10 percentage points.

Obama led rival John McCain by 3-1 in Denver.

On his coattails, Mark Udall is the winner in the hotly contested race for the state’s next U.S. Senator. His rival, Bob Schaffer, is losing his own home county of Larimer by 9 percentage points. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, from the 7th district, has been re-elected, as has Denver Congresswoman Diana DeGette. Jared Polis becomes the first openly gay man elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman, a Republican, won the 6th Congressional district.

In Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, Betsy Markey was leading the intense contest against incumbent Marilyn Musgrave.

Colorado, seen as key in Obama’s bid to become that nation’s 44th president and its first African-American commander in chief, added to his growing lead nationwide at this hour.

Meanwhile, several of the state’s proposed constitutional amendments were showing lopsided vote counts at this hour.

Amendment 48, which sought to define a person, was failing 6-1 in Denver. Many ballot initiatives were still neck and neck. Amendment 46, which would ban preferential treatment based on race or sex in public programs, is currently too close to call.

Both Amendments 47 and 49 were defeated. Amendment 47, the so-called “right to work” initiative and Amendment 49, which would have limited pay check deductions, fell under joint opposition from unions and some major business leaders.

Amendment 50, which would allow mountain gaming towns to increase stakes to $100 a bet, passed.

Coloradans saw a near-record number of initiatives on the ballot this year. Some 18 proposed constitutional amendments and referendums were printed on most voters’ ballots. Last-minute political maneuvering between labor and business leaders left 14 proposed amendments and referendums on most voters’ ballots.

Legions of volunteers for both Obama and McCain wait in Colorado as votes continue to be counted.

At least 63 percent of Denver’s active voters cast their ballots before the polls opened on election day. According to Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O’Malley, nearly two-thirds of Denver’s 312,445 active voters cast their ballots by mail-in or at early voting centers.

Obama at this hour is winning a higher percentage of votes in Democratic-leaning counties, according to early reporting, than John Kerry won in 2004.

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