Colo. voters reject ballot initiatives

Democratic incumbents get boot from offices

DENVER – Colorado voters turned down eight of the nine ballot questions and booted two Democratic statewide incumbents out of office in Tuesday's election.

Voters soundly rejected three tax-cutting measures, Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. The Legislature's staff projected that, over time, the measures would have cut the state's budget by $3.4 billion, or nearly half its current size.

Treasurer Cary Kennedy lost her bid for re-election to Republican Walker Stapleton, 51 percent to 49 percent, with 86 percent of the precincts reporting.

Secretary of State Bernie Buescher lost by a larger margin to Republican Scott Gessler, 50 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent of the voters opting for Amanda Campbell of the American Constitution Party.

Voters also rejected the personhood proposal, Amendment 62, which would have led to a ban on abortion and many forms of birth control.

They turned down Amendment 63, a largely symbolic rejection of the health-care bill that Congress passed this year.

And they rejected Proposition 102, an idea by the bail bond industry to require more defendants to take out a monetary bond before they can get out of jail.

Voters even rejected two questions the Legislature placed on the ballot. Referendum P would have moved bingo regulation to the Department of Revenue, and Referendum R would have given a small tax cut to ranchers and others who lease federal property.

A liberal group, the Colorado League of Responsible Voters, sent out fliers urging a no vote on all the voter-initiated measures.

“The personal discussions on doorsteps and social media campaign helped defeat these measures that were too extreme, over-reaching and would have unintended consequences,” said Leticia Martinez of the Colorado League of Responsible Voters.

Natalie Menten, spokeswoman for the pro-60, 61 and 101 group CO Tax reforms, said the campaign was outspent.

“We tried to bring moderate tax relief to citizens and protect our children from excessive government debt, but when facing over $7 million from special interest opposition groups using scare tactics compared to our low-budget campaign which spread the truth but didn't have funds for commercials ... we did the best we could,” Menten said in an e-mail.

jhanel@durangoherald.com