The Republican establishment lost control of the 2010 nomination process and two insurgents won the U.S. Senate and Colorado gubernatorial nominations. Ken Buck and Dan Maes both overcame high odds and won party primaries on August 10. Jane Norton, the establishment’s candidate for senate, and Scott McInnis, the endorsed and well-funded candidate for governor, were beaten in hard fought primaries.
Although Maes maintained a 1,000-vote lead most of Election Night, his victory was not declared until after the 9KUSA 10:00 pm news. Buck’s senate win had become irreversible in the count shortly after 9:30 pm. 9KUSA called all the key races first and surprisingly early.
Maes won by only 6,000 votes and carried most of the Front Range and Eastern Slope. Scott McInnis carried his old 3rd Congressional District, but was hurt by his plagiarism scandal in the Denver metro area. He lost every county. Maes was clearly helped by Buck’s sweep of voters in Weld and Larimer counties. Also, his insurgent conservative credibility was a draw in El Paso, which gave him his statewide margin of 6,000 votes.
Norton did well with establishment Republicans in the Denver metro area, carrying Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties. Buck, who won by a 13,000-vote margin, carried most non-Front Range counties and had huge wins in Larimer and Weld counties (Buck took 51 out of the state’s 64 counties).