The states 59th House District will stay in Republican hands, with Ignacio rancher J. Paul Brown slipping past Durango Democrat Brian ODonnell to take over for outgoing Ellen Roberts.
Brown scored 16,341 votes to ODonnells 13,261, with almost all votes counted.
La Plata County went for Brown 52 percent to 48 percent, or 10,115 votes to 9,450 votes. Seventy-one percent of registered voters cast ballots.
Brown won three of the four counties in the 59th District, with ODonnell taking only tiny San Juan County.
Brown, a former La Plata County commissioner, ran a campaign centered on his commitment to traditional values, and ran an old-fashioned campaign.
With election day approaching, Brown stood on street corners around Durango from the early morning until it became too dark to read the campaign sign he was holding. He said he stood about 10 hours a day, hoping for one or two more votes.
ODonnell called Brown to congratulate him at 10:50 p.m.
Its a humbling experience, Brown said. And I take it very seriously. I will work hard to get Colorado back on its feet economically.
He won in spite of raising just half of ODonnells donation total: $58,326 to ODonnells $116,878.
Brown and wife, Debbie, have four grown sons.
He is an Ignacio School Board member.
He will head to Denver on Thursday for General Assembly orientation.
ODonnell, head of the Conservation Lands Foundation in Durango, thanked his campaign volunteers on Tuesday.
Its that kind of year for Democrats, ODonnell said. Im obviously disappointed but grateful for everybody who supported me in this campaign. Im hopeful we can come together as a region and work together on ways to bring back jobs to Southwest Colorado.
This was ODonnells first foray into electoral politics, having spent most of his career running nonprofits in Durango and Washington, D.C.
Brown will replace Republican attorney Ellen Roberts in the House. Tuesday, Roberts prevailed in her bid for the 6th District seat currently occupied by Bruce Whitehead.
Roberts assumed the 59th House District seat from Republican Mark Larson of Cortez, who served from 1999 to 2006.
Larson replaced Democrat Jim Dyer of Durango, who served six terms.
Dyer replaced Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Ignacio, a Democrat during his four years in the House.
Campbell took over for Republican Bob DeNier of Durango, who served from 1977 to 1982.