Colorado Governor Election Results: John Hickenlooper Defeats Bob Beauprez

Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated his Republican challenger, former Rep. Bob Beauprez, in the state's competitive gubernatorial race Tuesday.

Polls have been tight for months in the race between Hickenlooper and Beauprez, and remained so right up to Election Day. A Quinnipiac poll released Monday showed that 45 percent of respondents supported Beauprez, while 43 percent backed Hickenlooper. A Public Policy Polling survey, also released Monday, found the two candidates in a dead heat -- tied at exactly 45.9 percent each.

Last year, a Democratic-controlled state legislature passed a measure enacting an all-mail-in ballot system in Colorado, in which every eligible voter this cycle received a ballot in the mail. Democrats thought that the new format would boost voter turnout for the party, while some state Republicans voiced opposition to the measure. Yet in the days before the election, early results suggested that the new system was benefiting Republicans more. In an early count on Monday, about 41 percent of mail-in ballots that had been turned in were from Republicans, compared to 32 percent from Democrats and 26 percent from independent voters.

There was some indication that since the weekend before the election, a Democratic ballot surge was closing the gap. The late uptick may have contributed to Hickenlooper's victory.

In total, over 1.6 million ballots had been mailed in as of Tuesday morning, according to an email sent to supporters by the Hickenlooper campaign.

Hickenlooper saw some of the highest approval ratings of any governor during the early years of his term. But his popularity slid 2013 after he signed several controversial bills into law that the Democratic-controlled legislature passed, including stricter gun control and regulations for the newly legal recreational marijuana industry.

The new laws, which some saw as evidence of a widening cultural divide between the state's urban centers and its more rural counties, even spawned a failed secession attempt by 11 Colorado counties in 2013.

Beauprez served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006.

Hickenlooper was first elected to the governorship in 2010. Prior to that, he served as the mayor of Denver.

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