Kathleen Curry concedes House District 61 contest

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenNovember 17, 2010

Three-term state legislator Kathleen Curry's write-in campaign has come to an end.

Kathleen Curry

Just hours after saying she wasn't finished fighting to retain her seat as an unaffiliated Colorado House District 61 representative, Curry posted a message on her website conceding the race to Roger Wilson, who after undervotes were tallied led by about 300 votes.

"It is finally official – I did not win the race for House District 61. I came within 300 votes out of 30,000 cast – but it wasn’t enough," she wrote after the undervotes were tallied in Garfield County, the last of the five counties that a Denver judge ordered to inspect ballots that were cast in the district that voting machines did not register a choice for in House District 61.

After they were inspected by election judges in Pitkin, Hinsdale, Gunnison, Garfield and Eagle counties, over a couple hundred of those ballots were determined to have been cast for Curry.

But it was not enough.

"The final count as I have it is Roger 9,660, the 'write in' 9,368. I called Roger Wilson to wish him luck a few minutes ago," Curry wrote on Wednesday afternoon. "I want to thank my family, my supporters, and the county clerks for their efforts to finalize the vote count these last few days. I think the count is accurate and this district needs to know who it’s [sic] new representative is – Roger Wilson of Glenwood Springs. It has been a great honor to represent this house district in Denver these past six years – thank you for allowing me to serve you!"

Curry was forced to run as a write-in candidate after dropping out of the Democratic Party last year. Her write-in candidacy caused confusion for many voters. The secretary of state instructed county clerks not to count ballots where Curry's name was written but the oval or box next to her name was not colored. After election day, a judge overturned the secretary of state's rule and ordered clerks in House District 61 to inspect all undervotes and count those that had Curry's name filled in on the appropriate line toward her total. Still, there were voters who wrote Curry's name in on the wrong line that were never counted.

Roger Wilson

And there were instances where voters wrote in Curry's name but left marks for Wilson, or the GOP candidate, Luke Korkowski. Those ballots did not count toward Curry but instead went to her opponents. On Wednesday morning, Curry expressed concern about those ballots — called overvotes – and said that her attorney would take up the matter with the court.

Throughout the election, Curry also flirted with the idea of paying for a recount of all the votes — an expense she estimated could reach $20,000 — to produce more accurate results.

In the end, however, Curry decided to concede instead of further challenging the election.

"I received a nice call from Kathleen with congratulations on my win. Previously I received a very gracious call from Luke," Wilson wrote on his website Wednesday. "I look forward to serving all the people of House District 61 with a focus on opportunities for jobs, small business, education, transportation, and a passion for the future of this land and its people."

Despite throwing in the towel, Curry pledged to stay active politically.

"I don’t know what the future will bring," she wrote, "but I do know that I will continue to pursue public service in a non-partisan manner. I believe that losing this race is just a temporary setback. I will keep trying!"

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