In a massive political shift, the Democratic Party took control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, thus ending the one-party rule in Washington. In this pivotal election, Colorado also shifted blue, passing many monumental ballot measures and electing progressive leaders office.
A huge landmark achieved in Colorado was the election of Jared Polis, the country’s first openly gay male governor. Polis is a Democratic congressman from Boulder, Colo. who beat out state treasurer Walker Stapleton by about 6 percent of the vote. The main focus of his campaign was education reform, and he took a more traditionally liberal stance on most political issues. Because John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s current governor, is Democratic, there are not predicted to be massive institutional changes during Polis’s term in office.
In Colorado’s House, Democrats won the majority with a total of four seats, with a flip in District 6 to give Jason Crow (D) a seat over incumbent Mike Coffman (R). This district had been steadily leaning more to the left since the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton won the area by a margin of 10 points. In Colorado Springs, District 5, Doug Lamborn (R) maintained his seat and was elected to another term as our representative.
The Attorney General election also resulted in a Democratic win, with Phil Weiser securing the spot over George Brauchler (R) and William Robinson (L). The Secretary of State and Treasurer also included a Democratic victory, with Jena Griswold and Dave Young winning the titles, respectively. In the State Senate, Democrats secured their power with 9 seats versus the Republicans with 8 seats. In the State House of Representatives, Democrats also claimed victory with 38 seats versus 27. These overall victories demonstrate the gradual blue shift of both Colorado and the nation.
One of the biggest implications of the Colorado midterms is the ballot measures that were passed. Forced unpaid labor of criminals, widely acknowledged as slavery, was removed from the State Constitution with the passing of Amendment A. Additionally an independent, 12-person commission was approved to be in charge of Congressional and State Legislative redistricting with the passing of Amendments Y and Z. This means that the chances of gerrymandering in the upcoming 2020 census are significantly lower and that each district will be more representative of the overall population.
Other Amendments that did not pass included the changing of the state’s flat income tax into a system of tax brackets with Amendment 73, and property devaluation compensation and expanding of campaign fund limits with Amendments 74 and 75.
The controversial Proposition 112, which would have established a minimum distance for oil, gas, and fracking projects from buildings intended for human occupancy, failed to pass. However, while Jared Polis did not support this proposition, much of his campaign was focused on green energy and environmental improvements, which will hopefully carry over into his administration.
Overall, in both Colorado and America as a whole, Democrats had a strong showing and split the balance of power in the White House. This will have lasting effects going into the 2020 Presidential Elections, and many hope that this political fervor will carry into the upcoming years.