Republican Bob Beauprez won Colorado's new 7th District congressional seat by 121 votes, following a mandatory recount. Heading into the recount, Beauprez led Democrat Mike Feeley by just 122 votes out of nearly 163,000. The margin was so small that the recount was automatic under state law.
Election officials in Jefferson County then found 535 uncounted votes, but the tabulation made little change. It was the same with four uncounted absentee ballots found in Arapahoe County and eight or nine ballots were not counted correctly on Election Day in
Feeley spokesman Steve Welchert says the Democratic candidate plans no legal challenge of ballot mixups in the new suburban Denver district.
The recount left Beauprez with 81,789 compared to 81,668 for Feeley. The totals were announced by Secretary of State Donetta Davidson. The announcement ended five weeks of uncertainty for the two candidates who fought to become the first representative of the 7th Congressional District centered in Denver suburbs.
On Nov. 5, Beauprez had led by 386 votes but the three counties were ordered by a judge to count every qualified provisional ballot. When the returns were released Beauprez's lead had been cut to 122. The recount changed that by only one more vote.
The election was Colorado's first with provisional ballots, which are cast by voters whose names are not on official registration rolls. It is up to election officials to determine whether the ballot is valid. Feeley earlier had filed a lawsuit over the issue of the ballots.
He said election officials in the three counties did not use the same standards to decide whether the ballots were valid. One county counted all provisional ballots whose voters were deemed qualified, the other two didn't count ballots whose voters failed to explain why they voted under special circumstances.
Denver District Judge William Robbins ruled that all the ballots cast by qualified voters should be counted.
The 7th District was created this year because of population growth and was evenly divided among Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters.