Voters in Colorado sent a mixed message on Nov. 4, electing a Republican U.S. senator and giving Republicans a one-vote majority in the state Senate while ousting two Republican state senators known as staunch gun rights backers, The New York Times
Democrat Michael Merrifield, who once worked for Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, captured the seat of Republican State Sen. Bernie Herpin, while Democrat Leroy Garcia defeated Republican State Sen. George Rivera.
Herpin said guns didn't figure in the race. "It really was not much of an issue," he said, according to the Times.
Several other pro-gun lawmakers were easily elected, The Denver Post
After Colorado Democrats passed legislation to tighten gun control in 2013, many legislators faced recall votes. Herpin won one of those elections. This time, he garnered 42 percent of the vote against Merrifield's 52 percent. Garcia overcame Rivera 55 to 45 percent, the Times reported.
Those earlier recall efforts played a role in Democrats now losing the Senate majority, according to the Post.
Seth Masket, a University of Denver political scientist, said that the defeated Republicans were "very inexperienced incumbents trying to hold moderate-to-liberal districts, which was always going to be a tall order for them," the Times reported.
The state Senate fell to the Republican for the first time in a decade. They now control 18 seats compared to the 17 held by Democrats. The Democrats retain control of the lower chamber 34 to 31, according to the Post.
Gov. John Hickenlooper is a Democrat.
Garcia is by no means a gun opponent. He is a longtime N.R.A. member who supports stronger background checks on gun buyers but opposes magazine limits.
"You have to recognize that when you're in this line of work, you work for the people," he told the Times. "It's been purple. It's going to continue to be purple. Coloradans just want someone who's going to continue to get the job done."
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