DENVER–President Obama won reelection Tuesday with the help of Colorado voters, who broke for the Democrat by a margin of 50.2 to 47.6 percent with nearly two million votes counted.
Obama overcame the Republican Party’s voter-turnout advantage by winning the battle for unaffiliated voters. Republican voters consistently outnumbered Democrats by a margin of 2 percentage points throughout early voting and on Election Day, leading to early optimism for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
But Obama took a majority of votes in two critical counties: He was leading in Arapahoe County by a margin of 52 to 46 percentage points with 75 percent of the vote counted, and by 51 to 47 percent in Jefferson County with about 90 percent of the vote tallied.
Colorado was labeled a crucial swing state throughout the 2012 campaign, but in the end Obama was declared the winner even before the Centennial State landed in his column. The decisive moment came at about 9:15 p.m. MST when the networks called Ohio for Obama, giving the Romney campaign virtually no shot of piecing together the requisite 270 electoral votes.
Both candidates had fought hard to win Colorado, making multiple appearances and spending tens of millions on television and radio advertising. Both drew large crowds last weekend in their final campaign stops: Romney drew 17,000 at Comfort Dental Amphitheater, while Obama rallied 20,000 at the Community College of Aurora.
Obama won by a much wider margin, 54 to 45 percent, in 2008 against Republican John McCain. Republicans had hoped to flip the result by hammering the president on the sluggish economy, but the Obama campaign’s ability to register new voter and get them to the polls proved too much for Romney.
Colorado Republican Party chair Ryan Call described the GOP effort as “one of the best ground games in memory.”
“This was a state that Obama won by nine points in the last election cycle,” said Call. “The tough battle he had to fight this time around says something about the damage his and the Democrats’ failed economic policies have done to Colorado’s struggling families and business owners.”
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper struck a conciliatory tone after the president’s victory.
“It’s good to see the outcome we wanted, but the real thing here is that we recognize we’ve got to wake up tomorrow, and this was not a landslide: We won each state by a few percent,” Hickenlooper told Fox31 News. “We’ve got to reach out to Republicans and independents and say, ‘If we’re going to move this country forward, move Colorado forward, we all need to work together.”