Pitkin County voters, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly went with Democratic candidates Tuesday in the midterm general election, bucking a statewide trend that saw significant Republican victories.
In fact, Pitkin likely provided the final margin of victory in the closely watched state Senate District 5 race in which former Vail Town Council member Kerry Donovan, a Democrat, held a 751-vote margin over GOP challenger Don Suppes with the vast majority of the ballots counted as of 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Late returns from Pitkin County apparently put Donovan over the top after trailing much of the evening.
“A lot can change in 7 hours,” Suppes wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday morning. “It seems late returns from Pitkin County may have cost us the race. It appears we may have lost by 750 votes out of over 50,000 votes cast.”
Supporters were clamoring for a recount in comments on his post. Donovan also commented on the turnaround.
“Wow. What a night!” she said on her Facebook page. “It’s looking like my race is still too close to call and we still have thousands of ballots that are yet to be counted. Please stay tuned to my page to learn the results as the counties turn votes in. Every vote deserves to be counted, and I am thrilled at the incredible turnout in SD5!”
Pitkin County voters chose Donovan by a 66-to-27-percent margin (4,712 to 1,959). Eagle County, which includes Basalt and El Jebel in the Roaring Fork Valley, also went with Donovan (9,999 votes) over Orchard City (Delta County) Mayor Suppes (6,277).
The SD5 race was part of an overall Democratic play to keep control of the state Senate, where their margin had shrunk to 18-17 after last year’s recall election. Whether or not Republicans take over still was up in the air as of Wednesday morning.
Pitkin County voters also did their part to put incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper back in the governor’s mansion for four more years, choosing him by a 71-percent to 24-percent margin over GOP challenger Bob Beauprez.
In the only contested Pitkin County commissioner’s race, Democrat Patti Clapper more narrowly ousted Republican incumbent Rob Ittner by a 56-percent to 43-percent margin.
Snowmass Village elected Markey Butler mayor over Jason Haber and selected Bob Sirkus and Bill Madsen to town council.
Go to the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s website for more results, including ballot issues in Pitkin County, Basalt and referendums in Aspen.