"There was a clear choice between Michael Bennet and Ken Buck," says Trevor Kincaid, spokesman for the Bennet campaign. "They have two very different visions for our country, and Coloradans overwhelmingly chose common sense over extreme politics."
"Overwhelmingly"? That's in the eye of the beholder.
The contest between Bennet and Buck was too close to be settled on election night, and while the Denver Post has now called the contest in Bennet's favor, the paper's reporting reflects a squeaker:
Long after most Coloradans -- including the candidates and their supporters -- had gone to bed, returns from Denver and Boulder moved Bennet past Buck and into the lead, 47.5 percent to 47.1 percent.
A recount would be required if the difference between the two candidates' vote totals is less than one-half of 1 percent of the highest vote total, or about 3,900 votes based on current tallies.
Bennet leads by nearly 7,000 votes with an estimated 30,000 still to be counted in Boulder County.
At this writing, Bennet hasn't released an official statement, although his campaign has been circulating the Post article. Kincaid characterizes the current state of the count like so: "Right now, Michael has a comfortable lead, and when every ballot is counted, that lead will grow."
As for how Bennet managed to eke out a win during a year when conservative voters were perceived to be much more enthusiastic than their progressive peers -- a situation that resulted in Republicans retaking the U.S. House of Representatives and making significant gains in the Senate -- Kincaid says, "It's a combination of factors. But I think what it really comes down to is that Michael has the ability to talk about policies and ideas and values that we all share, leaving more opportunity, not less, to future generations, and making sure opportunity continues to exist in our country."
Will his victory enhance Bennet's power position in the Democratic Party? If so, Kincaid doesn't go there. "People will look at Michael the way they do now, which is as a common-sense legislator -- someone who's not interested in getting mired in partisan politics. He's interested in the ideas that will move us forward, which is why this is a victory for Colorado, not just for Michael."
More from our Politics archive: "Michael Bennet-Ken Buck duel: Are they running out of ammo at the showdown?"
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