2014 Election Wrap-Up
November 5, 2014
2014 Election Wrap-Up
El Paso County experienced an interesting evening of upsets on with state legislative candidates.
First, Representative Tony Exum (D) appears to be defeated by an HBA backed candidate, Kit Roupe (R) in House District 19. Rep. Pete Lee (D), in House District 18 will also return to the state legislature with Rep. Lee also receiving support from the HBA PAC. Senator Bernie Herpin, in Senate District 11, was elected to the State Senate as part of the successful recall effort fielded against then Senate President John Morse. Herpin, however, was not able to survive a challenge by Democrat Michael Merrifield, who will now represent SD 11 in the State Senate. For background, SD 11 is a district that is more favorable to Democrats and Senator Herpin, who by all accounts put together a very respectable campaign, as well as a strong record on business issues at the Colorado General Assembly, could not survive the registration and performance advantages enjoyed by Merrifield.
In other races, Representatives Nordberg (R-14), Joshi (R-16), and Landgraf (R-21), were all reelected to the Colorado legislature. Additional El Paso County Representatives Lundeen (R-19), and Carver (R-20), will also be taking new seats in the Colorado General Assembly. Senators Lambert (R-9) and Grantham (R-2) were also reelected to represent El Paso County. Each of these legislators received the HBA PAC endorsement.
On HBA supported local ballot issues, 1A was well received by the voters allowing El Paso County to retain approximately $2MM in funds to be allocated toward a number of County parks.
Issue 1B concerning improvements to the regional storm water infrastructure was defeated 53% - 47%. The issue was ultimately plagued by an anti-fee campaign effort, the crowding out of voter attention from the highly-contested U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial races, and a high-degree of conservative turnout in the County. HBA strongly supported this issue at the ballot and we look forward to participating in future discussions about how to address our crucial storm water enterprise for El Paso County. We also wish to thank our many members, including John Cassiani (who also led the governance working group) Ralph Braden, and Bobby Ingels, who volunteered many hours on the task force, El Paso County Commissioners Amy Lathen and Dennis Hisey, Sallie Clark, and Darryl Glenn, for their leadership and support of the issue, and the proponents from the Colorado Springs City Council including Val Snider, Jan Martin, Merv Bennett, Jill Gaebler, President Keith King, and Andy Pico. We would also like to thank the campaign team led by Dave Munger, Brian Risley, Kevin Walker, Sarah Jack, and Rachel Beck. A number of HBA member companies also participated in the fundraising effort (from many sectors of the membership including builders, developers, and engineering companies) which was greatly appreciated.
The other main El Paso County races centered upon the County Commissioners where Commissioner Peggy Littleton defeated challenger Jariah Walker, and Commissioner Darryl Glenn will also be returning to his seat on the Board of County Commissioners. Littleton and Glenn were also endorsed by HBA. For Mr. Walker, his background in the business community and his interest in serving the citizens of Colorado Springs were well noted in the HBA interviews and the industry hopes Jariah will continue to look at additional offices for local involvement.
Looking at the State legislature, while Republicans were able to capture the bulk of the State elected seats (Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, our own Wayne Williams who will take the office of Secretary of State, and Walker Stapleton continuing at the office of State Treasurer), the legislature has seen a see-saw between Republicans and Democrats that has been taking shape overnight. Last night, the expectations were that the Colorado State Senate which has had a razor-thin one seat majority for the Democrats, appeared to be in Republican hands with the addition of a number of close races in Jefferson County and the pick-up of a seat in the Delta/Eagle County areas for Don Suppes who was winning Senate District 5 last evening and it is now being led by Democrat Kerry Donovan. If Republicans prevail, El Paso County Senator and Republican Leader Bill Cadman would be positioned to become President of the Colorado Senate.
However, today at least two seats are identified as too-close-to-call and the results may be close enough to trigger recounts and challenges – especially in Adams County. The State House is an even more interesting story as most state political observers determined the House as well entrenched for the Democrats who enjoyed a 37 to 28 seat advantage over the Republicans. In the House, it takes 33 votes to control the majority. Conventional wisdom saw the House as a virtual lock for Democrats who enjoyed an advantage over Republicans in a number of swing-districts due to the redistricting process. However, a number of these seats proved to be unexpectedly competitive and the House leadership is also now in doubt between the two parties. As a result, margins in each legislative chamber will now be much closer for the next session, and it seems possible Republicans could still claim control of at least one (if not both) chambers of the legislature for next session. News reports today are predicting the results may not be known until later this week. HBA will continue monitoring these results for our members.
On builder issues such as construction defects reform, the fact Governor Hickenlooper (who after the numbers going back and forth over night has solidified his lead over Republican Bob Beauprez) has expressed his support of working for construction defects reform, the closer margins in the legislature certainly give the issue more momentum. Even if Democrats remain in control of both houses, the thinner margins in the House and the hotly contested Senate races where a number of Democrat Senators have expressed support for the issue, may change the calculus in the favor of reform.
If both chambers ultimately go Republican, clearly that would be a game change for the proponents of reform, and even a one chamber change would give the business community a place to defend against bills eroding the state business environment, while also giving reform legislation a stronger platform to place greater pressure on the leadership of the other chamber. The re-election of Governor Hickenlooper ensures the statewide task force on oil and gas will continue, but the uncertain make-up of the legislature certainly creates doubts about the path forward for oil and gas (and any number of other bills) during the session that begins, January, 2015.
William D. Mutch
VP – Government Affairs
Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs
4585 Hilton Parkway, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
719-592-1800 ext. 16
The HBA Political Action Committee (PAC) operates as a separate entity from the HBA, raising its own funds through fundraisers and PAC dues. The HBA Board of Directors has no role in selecting candidates or approving endorsements. These are made by the members of the PAC board acting through their own interview and endorsement program.
We thank Chairman Kyle Campbell, and members of his HBA PAC organization for their hours of service this election cycle.