Updated: March 8, 2020 @ 4:22 p.m.
Andrew Romanoff, a former state representative and Colorado speaker of the House, won the state’s Democratic Senate caucuses on Saturday over former Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Preliminary results showed that Romanoff won just over 54 percent of the votes counted by Sunday afternoon, according to the Colorado Democratic Party. Hickenlooper, who is considered a frontrunner, captured about 30 percent. The rest of the votes split between the other candidates including Stephany Rose Spaulding and Trish Zornio, and uncommitted.
The caucuses are a preliminary step in determining who gets on the ballot for the primary in June. The winner of the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate will face incumbent Republican Cory Gardner in November.
Romanoff won big in several of the Denver metro counties — winning 60 percent of the votes in Boulder County and 63 percent in Denver County.
"Our grassroots campaign just crushed the DC machine & won today’s caucuses," Romanoff tweeted on Saturday.
In his Senate campaign, Romanoff has embraced the so-called Green New Deal. The former state House speaker is betting a progressive stance on climate change can help him overcome the Democratic primary field — including Hickenlooper — and defeat Gardner.
Gardner's seat is considered a must-win if Democrats hope to flip control of the U.S. Senate.
The Democratic Party said that turnout for the process was lower than expected, with about 13,000 votes reported. Hickenlooper's supporters said the results from such a small number of Democrats don’t represent the two-term governor’s popularity across the state.
A handful of counties were still counting raw votes and assigning delegates as of Sunday afternoon.
The Republicans also held caucuses on Saturday.
The primary election for the senate race is June 30.