Ar­vada may elect state’s first trans­gen­der law­maker

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By An­drew Kenney

Days af­ter the con­fetti set­tled, Col­orado Democrats’ his­toric vic­tory seemed to keep grow­ing Thurs­day.

It was ob­vi­ous on Tues­day’s Elec­tion Night that the party had taken full con­trol of the state govern­ment, but county clerks still had to count tens of thou­sands more bal­lots.

Those late num­bers may swing some of the clos­est races, where just a few votes ini­tially sep­a­rated the can­di­dates — such as House Dis­trict 27, where Demo­crat Bri­anna Ti­tone was lead­ing by 194 votes Thurs­day evening with 48,268 bal­lots counted.

If Ti­tone pre­vails over Repub­li­can Vicki Pyne, she would be the first openly trans­gen­der per­son elected to Col­orado’s state govern­ment. Repub­li­cans won the Ar­vada-cen­tered dis­trict by 13 per­cent­age points in 2016.

The seat is cur­rently held by Repub­li­can Lang Sias, who ran for lieu­tenant gover­nor this year. The slim vote mar­gin could trig­ger an au­to­matic re­count, de­lay­ing a fi­nal tally.

“I had con­ver­sa­tions with a lot of chal­leng­ing vot­ers that were of­ten dis­en­fran­chised and an­gry about pol­i­tics in gen­eral,” Ti­tone said Wed­nes­day. “I told them that what I want to do is I want to bring the peo­ple back into govern­ment. I don’t want them to be voice­less.”

Her gen­der, she has told re­porters, was not a big part of her plat­form. On Twit­ter, Rep. Matt Gray said the nar­row mar­gin showed “why we ask you to vote many, many times.”

Among Ti­tone’s sup­port­ers is Dan­ica Roem, who in 2017 be­came the only openly trans­gen­der per­son in a U.S. state leg­is­la­ture. Roem trav­eled to Jef­fer­son County to cam­paign for Ti­tone.

Two trans­gen­der women, Gerri Can­non and Lisa Bunker, also won elec­tion to New Hamp­shire’s state­house on Tues­day.

If the cur­rent re­sults hold, Democrats will en­ter the next ses­sion with 41 seats of 65 in the House — their strong­est pres­ence in that cham­ber since 1959.

• In Gree­ley’s House Dis­trict 50, late re­sults pushed Demo­crat Rochelle Galindo ahead of Repub­li­can Michael Thuener by a 308vote mar­gin as count­ing con­tin­ued. That was the only race where Democrats had ap­peared to risk los­ing one of their cur­rent seats.

• In south­ern Col­orado, Demo­crat Bri­anna Buentello may cap­ture Dis­trict 47, cov­er­ing parts of Pue­blo and neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ties. She held a 54-vote mar­gin in in­com­plete re­sults over Don Ben­dell, who had beaten the Repub­li­can in­cum­bent in a pri­mary.

• In the south­east­ern Den­ver metro, Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Su­san Beck­man was hold­ing on by about 500 votes, but thou­sands of bal­lots re­mained un­counted across Ara­pa­hoe County on Thurs­day.

Over in the state Se­nate, the Democrats ap­pear to have won a 19-16 ma­jor­ity — their first since los­ing the cham­ber in 2014.

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