DENVER Republican Robert Ramirez has been declared the winner of the last remaining state House race in Colorado, ending a challenge by Democrats that could have put them back in control.
Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said Ramirez beat incumbent Democrat Debbie Benefield by 197 votes following a re-count. Ramirez won 12,738 to 12,541.
Thats three times as many votes as would be required to trigger a mandatory re-count under state law.
Democratic Minority Leader Sal Pace said the GOP victory gives Republicans more control over major issues such as the state budget and congressional redistricting next year. But with such a narrow majority, they will have to compromise.
The voters want us to work across party lines, he said.
House GOP majority leader Amy Stephens agreed.
With the new House majority in place, it is time to put the electoral politics aside and get to work on behalf of Colorado citizens, she said.
After Election Day, Republicans claimed they had taken control of the House by just one seat, overturning six years of Democratic majorities, and named Rep. Frank McNulty their new speaker. They now control the House, 33-32.
McNulty was out of the country and unavailable for comment.
Weve completed the required postelection procedures, and we are pleased that this election has been completed and the final results have been certified, Anderson said.
Ramirez said he welcomed the re-count.
I like the fact that were counting every vote, he said.
Meanwhile, the secretary of states office says a dispute over results in Saguache County have been resolved and the two Republicans who thought they won on election night actually lost.
Secretary of State spokesman Rich Coolidge says investigators from his office determined that county elections officials ran a number of ballots twice on election night.
GOP attorney Ryan Call said he is satisfied with the results, even though his candidates lost.
While there were a lot of irregularities with the way ballots were initially tallied, Im satisfied and the candidates are satisfied, he said.