In Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper (D) held on to his seat for another 4-year term. With 55 of 64 counties reporting so far, he defeated Republican challenger Bob Beauprez 48.87 percent to 46.49 percent. The race was neck and neck heading into Election Day as the election heated up over social issues like gun control and the death penalty.
As the numbers came in, counting went on into the early morning hours after the polls closed. The Denver Post called the election in favor of Hickenlooper at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 5.Hickenlooper gave an acceptance speech Wednesday morning, coming into the room
chanting, "Four more years! Four more years!" Hickenlooper opened his statement with, "Voters of Colorado have spoken."
Yet Beauprez refused to concede the race.
However, at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Beauprez finally did concede. In a letter to supporters, Beauprez said, "there just aren't enough options to get us across the finish line," according to the Denver Post.
With such a close race, a margin of about 2 percentage points, the third-party candidates definitely threw their weight into the election for Colorado's next governor. Independent candidate Mike Dunafon won 1.15 percent of the total vote (22,455 votes). Libertarian candidate Matthew Hess pulled out 1.90 percent of the vote (36,970 votes).
In a night with many Republican victories, Hickenlooper maintained his seat and reinforced the trend toward a blue-leaning urban population and red rural population. As Colorado continues to diversify, it is likely to be a battleground state for many elections to come.
The third-party candidates made a big statement in their ability to decide the outcome of the race. Had voters jumped ship from the Libertarian candidate or independent Dunafon, Beauprez likely would have seen an increase in votes. However, Hess and Dunafon clearly appealed to a bloc of voters who are dissatisfied with the two major-party candidates.