Arvada may be close to electing Colorado’s first transgender lawmaker

Provided by Brianna Titone

Brianna Titone

Days after the confetti settled, Colorado Democrats’ historic victory seemed to keep growing Thursday.

It was obvious on Tuesday’s Election Night that the party had taken full control of the state government, but county clerks still had to count tens of thousands more ballots.

Those late numbers may swing some of the closest races, where just a few votes initially separated the candidates — such as House District 27, where Democrat Brianna Titone was leading by 194 votes Thursday evening with 48,268 ballots counted.

Upset in Arvada?

If Titone prevails over Republican Vicki Pyne, she would be the first openly transgender person elected to Colorado’s state government. Republicans won the Arvada-centered district by 13 percentage points in 2016.

The seat is currently held by Republican Lang Sias, who ran for lieutenant governor this year. The slim vote margin could trigger an automatic recount, delaying a final tally.

“I had conversations with a lot of challenging voters that were often disenfranchised and angry about politics in general,” Titone said Wednesday. “I told them that what I want to do is I want to bring the people back into government. I don’t want them to be voiceless.”

Her gender, she has told reporters, was not a big part of her platform. On Twitter, Rep. Matt Gray said the narrow margin showed “why we ask you to vote many, many times.”

Among Titone’s supporters is Danica Roem, who in 2017 became the only openly transgender person in a U.S. state legislature. Roem traveled to Jefferson County to campaign for Titone.

Two transgender women, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, also won election to New Hampshire’s statehouse on Tuesday.

The last question marks

If the current results hold, Democrats will enter the next session with 41 of 65 seats in the House — their strongest presence in that chamber since 1959.

  • In Greeley’s House District 50, late results pushed Democrat Rochelle Galindo ahead of Republican Michael Thuener by a 308-vote margin as counting continued. That was the only race where Democrats had appeared to risk losing one of their current seats.
  • In southern Colorado, Democrat Brianna Buentello may capture District 47, covering parts of Pueblo and neighboring communities. She held a 54-vote margin in incomplete results over Don Bendell, who had beaten the Republican incumbent in a primary.
  • In the District 38 race in southeastern Denver metro, Republican incumbent Susan Beckman was holding on by about 500 votes, but thousands of ballots remained uncounted across Arapahoe County on Thursday.

Over in the state Senate, the Democrats appear to have won a 19-16 majority — their first since losing the chamber in 2014.

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