Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s re-election Tuesday night was one of the few bright spots for his party, coming amidst the Republicans’ sweep of the presidency, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
Few disagreed that Bennet was in any danger of losing his seat to El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. He led in all but one public poll -- many by double digits.
Bennet had a massive campaign war chest -- about $15 million in contributions compared to Glenn’s $3.6 million. No other U.S. Senate race in Colorado in the last 15 years was more one-sided in terms of money.
On Tuesday night, Bennet talked about working across the aisle to get things done in the Senate, to rise above partisan politics for the people.
“No party or ideology is all right and good, and the other party all wrong and evil. Disagreement does not require disrespect,” he told supporters in Denver. And on a night in which Donald Trump shocked the political establishment, Bennet spoke of a higher level of discourse.
“That will only be possible if political leaders and perhaps others, can show some self-restraint, operate with the mutual respect that is assumed in most workplaces across America.”
What Bennet didn’t mention is that Glenn had refused to concede the race, despite the AP and other outlets calling the race for Bennet -- he still had not conceded as of midnight. Darryl Glenn's statement came later Wednesday morning, congratulating his opponent on his win. Glenn said he hoped that Bennet "will work with Republican lawmakers to preserve Coloradan's freedoms and western way of life."
Earlier in the evening in Colorado Springs, Glenn had said “people should just relax, because there are a lot of votes that still need to be counted" and that looking at the Western Slope, there were "a lot of votes that are still out there.”
In Pueblo County, voting was delayed in publishing results because of a faulty server.
Glenn struggled to gain any foothold in the race. He had emerged from a crowded primary field after a rousing state convention speech. Glenn, however, never seemed to pivot to the general election. Some observers say the deeply conservative former Air Force officer made little attempt to appeal to the middle to win an evenly divided state.
At the Democratic watch party in downtown Denver, Ernest Boffy-Ramirez was happy to see Bennet win on a tough night for Democrats.
“I know that within Colorado, we’re on the right track and I feel good about where we are as a state," he said. "Of course, I’m concerned about the nation as a whole.”
Trump’s unlikely victory really was the only thing though that Democratic voters at the watch party could think about.