Colorado Focus: Count EVERY Ballot!
As the new leader of the Democratic caucus in the Colorado State House, I wanted to write to you today to express my appreciation and gratitude. Last Tuesday night was both painful and gratifying. Good friends and great public servants such as Joe Rice, Sara Gagliardi and Dennis Apuan lost their re-election contests. However, in very close races, voters supported our Democratic candidates in an extremely hostile national political environment. Representatives Max Tyler, Jim Riesberg, Judy Solano, Christine Scanlan, John Soper, Daniel Kagan, Wes McKinley and John Kefalas fought off stiff Republican challenges. We are also proud to welcome talented new members to our caucus: Representatives Matt Jones, Deb Gardner, Roger Wilson, Rhonda Fields, Pete Lee, Angela Williams, Dan Pabon and Crisanta Duran. These are all extraordinary public servants who are going to make a difference for Colorado.
But we are not done making a difference in this election. Republicans are claiming victory in the State House--and are claiming a slim one-seat majority. The voters deserve better than this. They deserve to have the vote counted first!
Currently, there are thousands of outstanding ballots in key house districts that won't be counted until early next week. It is presumptuous and disrespectful for Republicans to close the door on thousands of Colorado citizens who have exercised their right to vote. Democrats will honor the vote.
Right now, in HD-29, Rep. Debbie Benefield is down by 208 votes in the preliminary tally—with at least 687 uncounted ballots in that district. Our analysis shows that this race remains too close to call. There are simply too many uncounted votes for Republicans to shut the door on the democratic process. I want you to know that we are going to use every resource to make sure that these ballots are counted and counted correctly. I am calling on the Republicans to take this same pledge to honor the will of the people.
It is the voters who deserve to have the last word in this election!
With the HD-29 race still too close to call, the State House chamber stands at 32 Democrats and 32 Republicans. The outcome of the HD-29 count will be a pivotal moment in Colorado's history. It will decide the majority just ahead of Congressional redistricting. It will decide whether Governor Hickenlooper will have a legislature that will work together to fix Colorado's budget—or an ideologically-driven and obstructionist Republican majority that refuses to solve problems. As caucus leader, I am committed to ensuring that we do everything possible to protect the integrity of the vote.
Therefore, I have directed the House Majority Project to do everything possible to support Rep. Benefield's re-election as the votes are counted, and to prepare for a possible recount. We need your help to pay for staff that is helping monitor canvasses. The staff is already hard at work to make sure we are organized and prepared on every front. The HMP will not rest until the election is over, and we are going to need your continued support to make sure of that.
The future of Colorado is hanging in the balance today. I hope we can count on you.
State Representative Sal Pace
Democratic Caucus Leader
Look, let me be clear. The Republicans may well win this. If they win fair and square then fine! But I cannot stand it when Republicans try to prevent a fair and accurate count of each and every vote. I have paid attention to elections in other nations like Finland, and they are extremely careful to make sure their counts are accurate and fair. Yet Republicans feel American Democracy shouldn't live up to the standards of other Western Democracies! If the tables were turned and the Republican was lagging by a small number of votes I would feel the same. For me the point is to count every vote. Otherwise you aren't a strong democracy.