Election returns tonight assured the Democrats of 34 seats in the 65-member House. When final results are tallied the total could rise as high as 38, which would be a clean sweep of the most contested races.
“We have taken back the majority in the Colorado House of Representatives!” Rep. Mark Ferrandino, leader of the House Democrats, told the jubilant throng that gathered tonight at the Colorado Democratic Party’s election headquarters in the Sheraton in downtown Denver.
The resurgence ends a two-year stretch in which the House Democrats were in the minority by the slimmest of margins, 32-33.
The change of party control means that:
· Subject to the other House Democrats’ approval at a meeting set for Thursday, Rep. Ferrandino is in line to become Speaker of the House, succeeding the Republican, Rep. Frank McNulty. The Speaker controls committee assignments as well as which bills those committees will consider, and represents the House in dealings with the state Senate and the governor’s office.
· A Democratic House majority leader, also to be elected Thursday, will manage the House calendar, scheduling debate and votes on bills.
· Democrats appointed by the Speaker will chair all the House committees, and all the committees will have Democratic majorities, also appointed by the Speaker.
The Sheraton crowd cheered as Rep. Ferrandino (D-Denver) promised a new chapter of bipartisan cooperation and respect for the legislative process.
“We are going to take any idea – Democrat, Republican, independent – to move Colorado forward,” he said. “We are not going to run the House like we saw this last year. We’re going run it so the people of Colorado can be proud of their House of Representatives.”