VOTE 2020: Aurora area Democrats capture almost all state House and Senate races

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VOTE 2020 — State House and Senate Races

Legislative DistrictCandidateAdams CountyArapahoe CountyDouglas CountyDenver CountyTotal
House District 30D- Michaelson Jenet19842019842039684
House District 30R- Gutierrez15042015042030084
House District 36D-Weissman0233170023317
House District 36R-Bishop0140480014048
House District 37D-Sullivan0255300025530
House District 37R-Cornell0193490019349
House District 40D-Ricks0226540022654
House District 40R-Bassett0135800013580
House District 41D-Jodeh0233550023355
House District 41R-Andrews0118450011845
House District 42D-Jackson0188190018819
House District 56D-Carminati09677009677
House District 56R-Bockenfeld0124730012473
Senate District 26D-Bridges0498330049833
Senate District 26R-Roth0293540029354
Senate District 27R-Staiert0364590036459
Senate District 27D-Kolker0473920047392
Senate District 28D-Buckner0452410045241
Senate District 28R-Stecher0268540026854
Senate District 29D-Fields0396570039657
Senate District 29L-Poague0172890017289
Senate District 31D-Hensen0272105366956390
Senate District 31R-Townsend09411358414525

AURORA | The existing Aurora delegation under the golden dome appears to have remained intact, and even grown, according to current Election Day results, while several new faces are emerging in races for open seats.

Incumbent state Sens. Rhonda Fields, Janet Buckner, Chris Hansen and Jeff Bridges held sizable leads, according to returns as of Wednesday, as did incumbent state Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Mike Weissman, Tom Sullivan, Rod Bockenfeld and Dominique Jackson. The latter did not face an opponent. 

In the open race for House District 40, Democratic Aurora community leader Naquetta Ricks is up over perennial Republican candidate Richard Bassett. Next door in House District 41, newcomer Iman Jodeh is trouncing her Republican challenger with roughly two thirds of the vote. Jodeh, who works with the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, will succeed term-limited Jovan Melton. 

In a traditionally conservative southern district, Democrat Chris Kolker was firmly leading Republican opponent Suzanne Staiert for an open Senate District 27 seat.

Details on the region’s house and senate races:

HOUSE DISTRICT 30 

Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Democrat, has represented this area since 2017, when she ousted incumbent Republican JoAnn Windholz. This year, Jenet is defending the seat from Kerrie Gutierrez, a Republican involved in numerous conservative campaigns, and who unsuccessfully ran for an Adams County school board seat in 2017. 

This House District is wildly diverse, wrapping around Denver International Airport to encompass the booming Anschutz Medical Campus, low-income north Aurora neighborhoods, vast swaths of prairie and the town of Henderson. 83,000 people live in this district in 25,000 households. 

HOUSE DISTRICT 36 

Democrat Mike Weissman has a roughly 25-point lead over Republican Dustin Bishop in the race to represent the district that covers a broad swath of east Aurora. Weissman is an attorney and two-time incumbent. He has been an advocate for regulatory and criminal justice reforms, and he served as chair of the house’s judiciary committee in the most recent legislative session. Bishop is a political tenderfoot who has never held political office, but has volunteered for local Republican campaigns. 

HOUSE DISTRICT 37

Former labor union representative and postal worker Tom Sullivan is currently ahead of Caroline Cornell, the Republican vying to snag his seat in the state house, by about 6,000 votes, according to early election night returns. 

That translated to a lead of roughly 14 percentage points for Sullivan over the business consultant and political newcomer.

In his pair of sessions as a legislator, Sullivan has largely promoted bills to protect the rights of workers and victims of crime, and curb gun violence. 

He’s been a pervasive face in Colorado politics since his son, Alex, killed in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting massacre. 

He made national headlines last year when he successfully shepherded a law establishing the use of extreme risk protection orders in the state to passage. The measure allows judges to restrict people’s access to personal firearms if they are deemed to pose a risk to themselves and others. 

This year, he was assigned to the house’s business affairs and labor and finance committees.

HOUSE DISTRICT 40 

Democrat Naquetta Ricks is trouncing opponents to win her first election bid for House District 40 a densely-populated and diverse jurisdiction that includes bits of Denver, Aurora, Greenwood Village and the waters of Cherry Creek reservoir.

A trio of would-be lawmakers are vying for this spot: Republican Richard Bassett, who former lawmaker Janet Buckner trounced in the 2018 election; Democrat Naquetta Ricks, an Aurora community leader and Liberian immigrant; and Libertarian Robert Harrison, who won few votes in a bid to unseat former state Senator Nancy Todd in 2012.

As of 8:30 p.m., Ricks led Bassett by about 35 points.

HOUSE DISTRICT 41 

As of 8:30 p.m., Democrat Iman Jodeh had secured about double the votes of Republican Bob Andrews. 

Jodeh and Andrews are gunning to represent this swath of the southeast Denver metroplex, which spans from the intersection of South Quebec Street and Leetsdale Drive to the intersection of South Chambers Road and East Hampden Avenue.

At that time, Jodeh had secured about 66 percent of the vote to Andrews’ 33. Jodeh is a staffer with the Colorado Interfaith Alliance, a first-generation American and a longtime politico and activist.

HOUSE DISTRICT 56 

Republican Rod Bockenfeld is defending his seat from Democratic challenger Giugi Carminati and Libertarian Kevin Gulbranson.

Currently, he has a substantial lead.

More than 83,000 residents of Arapahoe and Adams counties live in House District 56, which wraps from Aurora’s southeastern tip to include the prairie east of the Denver metroplex. Bennett, Strasburg and Byers are represented in this vast district along with Brighton to the north. 

This jurisdiction is one of Aurora’s wealthiest house districts. Here the median household income is $75,000, buoyed by higher-income residents in southeastern Aurora. 

SENATE DISTRICT 26 

Democrat Jeff Bridges aims to fend off Republican challenger Bob Roth to represent Senate District 26. 

Currently, he holds a substantial lead over Roth.

The jurisdiction includes a piece of Aurora at the Ptarmigan Park, Dam West and Dam East neighborhoods. The district also includes Cherry Creek State Park and south-central Denver suburbs including parts of Littleton, Englewood, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village and Sheridan. 

SENATE DISTRICT 29 

State Sen. Rhonda Fields has easily fended off a challenge from Libertarian Michele Poague in the race for Arapahoe County’s Senate District 29. 

Fields was up by nearly 40 percentage points over Poague as of about 8:30 p.m. on Election Day. 

Fields has been a stalwart face of Aurora politics for more than a decade. She has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice and gun control reforms, supporting bellwether gun control measures enacted months after the Aurora theater shooting and sponsoring the recently passed package of policing reforms known as senate bill 217. 

She has represented the area since 2016, when she jumped to the state senate after a trio of terms in the house.

Poague, a science fiction novelist, has been heavily involved with local, state and national chapters of the Libertarian Party for more than 30 years and unsuccessfully run for office multiple times. She has worked in various roles at Shotgun Willies, also known as The Bavaria Inn, in Glendale since 1984.

SENATE DISTRICT 27 

In SD 27, a hotly contested race in Centennial, Democrat Chris Kolker was firmly leading Republican opponent Suzanne Staiert as of 9 p.m. 

Then, Kolker led Staiert by about 13 percentage points. The district is critical for Republicans’ aspirations to retake the state Senate. 

The race has attracted outside spending from dark money groups and no shortage of harsh campaigning.

SENATE DISTRICT 2

State Representative Janet Buckner, a Democrat, is vying for this seat against Republican former neurosurgeon Karl Stecher.

Early returns showed huge returns for Buckner. As of 8:55 p.m., she led Stecher by about 25 points. Buckner is on track to become a state Senator after representing House District 40.  

SD 28 includes a swath of Aurora and Centennial, and 144,000 residents from the intersection of South Peoria Street and East Mississippi Avenue all the way to the Aurora Reservoir.

Bucker clocked one of the largest fundraising leads in Aurora region races. She’d raked in more than $75,000 as of Monday morning. Her opponent, Republican retired neurosurgeon Karl Stecher, hadn’t reported raising a single dollar.

SENATE DISTRICT 31

The historically blue state Senate District 31 will likely stay that way. Sen. Chris Hansen is currently defeating Republican challenger Doug Townsend. 

As of 9 p.m. Hansen has received nearly 80% of the vote. 

Hansen was appointed to Senate District 31 in January after the former seat holder, Lois Court, stepped down citing her recent diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome. A vacancy committee appointed Hansen to the seat in January — 95 of the 120 votes cast in that committee were for Hansen.

The district runs parallel Interstate 225 and reaches down Parker Road between Aurora and Denver. While the district mostly covers Denver, there are four precincts in Arapahoe County. 

The district has voted overwhelmingly Democratic in recent elections. In 2012, former Sen. Pat Steadman earned nearly 70% of the vote. In 2016, Court was elected by about the same margin. Despite those outcomes, Townsend told the Sentinel he knocked thousands of doors in the district, talked to hoards of voters, and thought they were ready to see a change. 

He said Hansen was a one-issue lawmaker, focusing solely on green energy. Townsend said he would have made his big focus education.