Curry concedes District 61 race
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Democrat Roger Wilson will be the next state representative for Colorado House District 61, following hand counts of additional write-in votes for incumbent Kathleen Curry released by Garfield County on Wednesday.
Inspections of some 800 under-voted ballots in the contest increased the total for the independent write-in candidate Curry by another 94 votes, according to Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico.
But that still left her about 300 votes short of Wilson’s total of 9,659 votes.
“That clearly puts me at a point where he’s not catchable,” Curry said by phone from her Gunnison home, shortly before calling Wilson to concede the race and congratulate him on the victory.
“I am very pleased to be able to work on behalf of our district and all of Colorado to protect our communities and improve our economy,” Wilson said in a prepared statement. “I am gratified that the process has worked and that the voters’ choice is clear to all.”
Curry, who had to run a write-in campaign for re-election after leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent late last year, said the vote spread would have needed to be much closer for her to even consider asking for a recount.
“I don’t want to beat a dead horse,” she said. “I want the district to know who their representative is and not try to belabor the point.”
Tallies from the other four counties that comprise HD 61 – Pitkin, Eagle, Gunnison and Hinsdale – had given Curry an additional 210 votes as of Tuesday.
With Garfield County’s add-ons, Curry picked up a total of 304 additional votes out of some 2,000 under-voted ballots; Denver District Judge John W. Madden ordered the ballots to be inspected three days after the Nov. 2 election.
Under-votes are registered whenever a ballot is cast but no vote is recorded in a particular race. In the case of the HD 61 race, however, there was a chance that enough of the ballots may actually contain write-in votes for Curry that Madden ordered they be inspected and any clear votes for Curry be added to the tally.
The new votes were instances where voters wrote Curry’s name on the write-in, but did not fill in the accompanying box or oval provided. Optical scanners used in the initial count did not record those particular votes.
Wilson was recruited by local Democrats to run for the seat after Curry left the party following the deadline to have her name printed on the ballot as an independent candidate.
In the two weeks since the election, Wilson has been busy participating in House Democratic caucuses and familiarizing himself with the state Capitol. On Tuesday and Wednesday he attended the orientation for freshmen legislators.
“I’ve also begun researching some of the items I might introduce into legislation,” he told the Post Independent. “But I want to talk to people in district before I move anything forward.
“I am pleased to finally say I won,” he said. “It allows me to talk to people in the district with the confidence that they’re talking to their next legislator.”
Curry, meanwhile, is not ruling out a run for public office again in the future.
“My political career is definitely not over,” she said. “I would like to continue to pursue public office, as an independent, but definitely not as a write-in if I can avoid that.”
Still, she said she was pleased that her campaign was able to convince some 9,350 voters in the district to write her name on the ballot.
“It shows that people will do it if you educate them about the process,” Curry said. “Given the Republican wave this year, and the amount of money the Democrats spent to say a vote for me was a wasted vote, I think I had a good showing. I’m going to take the positive view here.”
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