Colorado election results: Bennet defeats Buck by narrow margin in Colorado Senate race

7:30 PM, Nov 3, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Bennet wins

Video: Bennet's victory

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Following the race, which was so close it couldn't be called until Wednesday morning, Bennet promised to return to Washington with a mission to change the Senate and make a difference.

"I'm not going back to Washington to play politics," Bennet said during a victory speech at noon Wednesday in Denver's City Park. "I'm going back to fight for more jobs, better jobs, for a clean energy economy, a 21st century education for any child and I'm going back there to fight so every American has access to high quality health care at a cost we can afford."

With 98 percent of the vote reporting, Bennet leads Buck (R) by 15,646 votes, 48 to 47 percent. Wednesday morning, 9NEWS declared Bennet the winner of the race.

On Wednesday afternoon, Buck called Bennet to congratulate him on his victory and concede the race. Buck says although the final margin in the race was small, the voters have spoken and he wishes Bennet well.

"My Senate campaign has been the experience of a lifetime," Buck stated in a release Wednesday. "I will be forever grateful to the thousands of Coloradans who helped make this grassroots journey possible."

Bennet immediately tried to mend fences in his victory speech.

"Because our differences were stark and the race was very close, some will read into this outcome that Coloradans are deeply divided. I can tell you that would be a mistake," Bennet said.

He says the many Coloradans he met on the campaign trail have much more in common than differences.

"People don't want to eliminate government and they don't want big government. They want an efficient, effective government that works hard for them or gets out of their way," Bennet said.

He promised to look for ways to help businesses by getting rid of needless regulations and find ways to encourage growth.

"The election was all about all of you. It was about rolling up our sleeves and getting to work rebuilding our state and our country," Bennet said.

"To the people of Colorado I want you to know that I've been moved by your courage, humbled by your support and grateful for the chance you've given me to take your stories to the one place that needs to hear them the most," he added.

Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) appointed Bennet to the spot in January 2009 after Ken Salazar was named Secretary of the Interior by President Obama. Bennet was Denver Public Schools superintendent at the time and had never run for office before.

He fought off a primary challenge in August from former State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff before turning his campaign of "fixing a broken Washington" to the greater electorate in November.

Bennet often referred to his three young daughters on the campaign trail, saying his desire to run for the office was because he was "deeply rooted in a moral obligation to leave this country in a better place... and a fear that we will fail in that obligation if we do not take a fresh approach to Washington."

During his victory speech Bennet thanked his wife and daughters for their support.

"It has been a family project every step of the way," Bennet said.

Throughout the campaign, Buck and his supporters tied Bennet to President Obama for his support of the stimulus and health care reform while Bennet attacked Buck's position on issues like abortion, climate change, and health care as being "too extreme for Colorado."

Buck rode a wave of what he calls "grassroots support" to defeat former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the August Republican primary, before focusing on his campaign theme of too much government and too much spending in the general election against Bennet.

Buck was first elected Weld County District Attorney in 2004 after working in his words as a "truck driver, high school football coach, ranch hand, school janitor, paper boy, furniture mover, adjunct law professor, and businessman."

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