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House Minority Leader Hugh McKean is dead at 55

Hugh McKean standing in front of a podium with a slight smile on his face. Several masked people stand behind him.
David Zalubowski
House Minority Leader Hugh McKean speaks during a news conference outside the Governor's mansion Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Denver.

Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean was found dead in his Loveland home early Sunday morning after he was reportedly feeling unwell the night before.

McKean died from a heart attack. He was 55.

The Republican lawmaker was elected to the state legislature in 2016 and served as minority leader in the Colorado House for the last two years. He first entered politics when he joined the Loveland City Council in 2009.

At the state legislature, he was a moderate who worked to bridge differences with Democrats and within the Republican Party. In a statement, Governor Polis called Representative McKean "A family man and a true public servant,” and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle mourned his death.

McKean was currently running unopposed for a fourth term in office after winning the primary in June. With no one running against him, he will be considered a member-elect to the House, and a committee made up of Republicans from his district, House District 51, will choose his replacement.

McKean’s vacancy means that Republicans at the statehouse will choose a new leader on Nov 10, when the caucus meets to elect leadership for the upcoming legislative session. It also comes after the number two Republican in the House, Representative Tim Geitner, resigned in early October. A vacancy committee is tasked with also appointing Geitner’s replacement by Nov 7.

I’m the Statehouse Reporter at KUNC, which means I help make sense of the latest developments at the Colorado State Capitol. I cover the legislature, the governor, and government agencies.