Colo. Senate Race Too Close To Call

The race for U.S. senator in Colorado was too close to call Wednesday morning. Incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet was trailing by a tiny margin behind Republican challenger Ken Buck, and there were still tens of thousands of votes to count.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

So those are the results from California, and we don't really have a result for you in the Senate race in Colorado.

The incumbent Democrat, Michael Bennet, is less than one percent behind his Republican challenger, Ken Buck, and there are still tens of thousands of votes left to count.

NPR's Jeff Brady has our story from Denver.

JEFF BRADY: More than six hours after polls closed in Colorado, neither candidate had come out to declare victory.

Walt Klein, with Republican Ken Buck's campaign, addressed what had been a noisy ballroom.

Mr. WALT KLEIN (Ken Buck Election Campaign Staffer): We haven't quite elected him yet, but hang in there, and hopefully within the next day or so, maybe within the next 12 hours, we'll have this all sorted out.

BRADY: Polls had indicated this would be a close race, and it was hard fought all along the way. The contest attracted more outside money than any other in the country. All told, more than $46 million will have been raised and spent.

The many ads on TV painted Democratic Bennet as a big-spending liberal and Republican Buck as an extremist. Ultimately, a recount may be required to decide who will be Colorado's junior senator. That could take another month. Both sides say they're prepared for whatever comes next.

Here's Colorado Democratic party chair Pat Waak.

Ms. PAT WAAK: (Democratic Party Chair, Colorado): We've been planning from the beginning, ever since we thought there might be a possibility that it would be a close vote. So we have a legal team that works with the party on voter protection. They've also been working on a plan for a potential recount.

BRADY: While polls show Colorado voters have been trending back toward Republicans over the past year, Democrats were able to hold onto the governor's mansion.

Denver mayor and Democrat John Hickenlooper won after former congressman and immigration opponent Tom Tancredo entered on the Constitution Party ticket. That effectively split the Republican vote, leaving the GOP candidate, Dan Maes, with only 11 percent of the vote.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Denver.

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