In the race for House District 25, first-time candidate Cheri Gerou of Evergreen won 49 percent of the vote, or 22,408 votes, compared to Andrew Scripter of Arvada, with 18,131 votes, or 39 percent, in the unofficial final total as of Wednesday morning.
Gerou, a Republican, was reluctant to declare a victory until every vote was counted.
“I want to see that check mark by my name first,” she said Tuesday night.
Gerou will succeed Rob Witwer, who was elected to the seat in 2006 and then resigned in 2008 to have more time for family responsibilities, which include four children under age 8.
In House District 25, Republicans traditionally have run the show. But over the years the Republican margin has been shrinking dramatically, and Democrat Scripter ran a strong race.
In 2008, the district contains about 100,000 voters, of which 41 percent are Republican, 26 percent are Dems and 33 percent are independents.
In the 2004 election, John Witwer, father of Rob, won the seat with 59 percent of the vote, compared to 41 percent for Democrat Donna Red Wing. John Witwer ran unopposed in 2002 and in 2000 won with 56 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat Bill Astle with 39 percent.
Rob Witwer backed Gerou in her first bid for elected office. She announced more than a year ago and went on to defeat Eileen Diepenbrock, an experienced state executive, at the Republican General Assembly.
Endorsed by The Denver Post, Gerou benefited from her experience as an architect, a small-business owner and her 25 years of living in Evergreen.
She ran on a largely economic platform of state fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less government, enforcement of existing immigration laws and a hands-off policy toward business.
Although he was an unknown beginner politician, Scripter impressed Dem higher-ups enough that they contributed $10,000 to his bid, which he announced even before Witwer said he was walking away from the statehouse.
A resident of Arvada and a successful mortgage broker, Scripter has experience as a legislative aide in the Hawaii state legislature and a degree in political science.
It was pretty much understood that a Democrat didn’t have a chance in House District 25, but the determined neophyte was not to be deterred. With Witwer out of the picture and the Dems on a rising Obama tide, people started returning his phone calls.
Scripter ran a campaign that sent 120,000 mailings, made 60,000 phone calls and 10,000 front-door contacts.
Scripter was driven to be part of the process no matter what and spent about $15,000 of his own money on the effort. He benefited from the fact that it was a good year to be a Democrat and that the HD 25 seat was an open seat for the first time in about eight years.
House District 25 covers most of the Evergreen area, Conifer and part of the Jeffco foothills.