Democrat Tom Sullivan defeats GOP incumbent Cole Wist in HD37

ADVANCE FOR USE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 26, 2018 AND THEREAFTER-Tom Sullivan, a candidate for a Colorado State Senate district, confers with his campaign manager Kris Grant while making campaign calls from Sullivan’s home in Centennial, Colo., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed by James Holmes as he celebrated his 27th birthday in the Aurora theater, said he is encouraged that the state has maintained the post-Aurora ammunition limits and is calling for further gun control as he runs for a Colorado state House seat. Sullivan sees long-term promise in gun-control efforts by Parkland students and survivors of other mass shootings. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AURORA | Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex died during the Aurora theater shooting, unseated GOP incumbent Cole Wist, who also championed a “red flag” bill this year in the Legislature.

It was a closely-watched race for two candidates that have made major moves on gun legislation.

At press time Sullivan had 53 percent of the vote in HD37, which includes parts of Aurora, Centennial and Foxfield. The district has previously been a Republican stronghold. 

Sullivan was not available for comment at press time.

The two have taken strong stances on gun legislation. Sullivan has been a regular in statehouse hearings since the 2013 session, when legislators approved limiting gun magazines to 15 rounds and universal background checks.

Wist gained attention, and some significant disapproval from gun rights advocates, for sponsoring a “red flag” bill this year — which would have allowed courts to temporarily disarm a person who presents a serious threat to themselves or others. The bill passed the House, earned approval from some top law enforcement officials in the state, including Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler and several Republican-elected sheriffs.

The HD37 race drew in nearly a quarter of a million dollars, with Sullivan raising nearly $140,000.

Beyond money, Sullivan, a former mail carrier, also gained a key endorsement from the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police in October. 

Sullivan, who has called the south metro region home for decades, ran for a state Senate seat in 2016, but lost to Sen. Jack Tate.