Colorado Democratic Party

Helen Dombalis / used with permission

The Colorado Democratic and Republican parties recently wrapped up their caucuses on Super Tuesday. The 2016 Democratic caucus was notable for the unexpected large turnout – while the GOP canceled their presidential preference poll. Either way, there were gripes. Two lawmakers are planning to introduce a bill to change the state's caucus system and instead add a presidential primary.

Helen Dombalis / used with permission

Voters in 12 states either went to the polls or caucused on Super Tuesday. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won Colorado's Democratic caucuses. He also grabbed victories in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and in his home state. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the big winners of the night, each taking seven states, on the busiest night so far of the 2016 election season.

Colorado's Republican Party did not take a preference poll for the presidential race – so no winner was declared in the state for the GOP.

When Colorado's 2016 legislative session convenes Jan. 13, Democrats will have a one-seat minority in the state Senate. They'll also have a new minority leader for the upcoming session, Lucia Guzman of Denver.

Grace Hood / KUNC

From a national perspective, 2014 is seen as an election in which voters expressed their frustration with Democratic President Barack Obama and gridlock in Washington D.C., bringing a Republican majority to both the U.S. House and Senate. But in Colorado, the picture is more complicated.

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

Election Night brought plenty of drama to races at the top of the ticket with Republican Cory Gardner upsetting Democratic incumbent Mark Udall. But further down the ticket, races for the U.S. House of Representatives brought few surprises.

Aranami / Flickr - Creative Commons

Watching election returns can seem boring. However recent elections in Colorado have become something worth watching. Colorado's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races are too close to call. Those race results will be the byproduct of an increasingly complex election and demographic landscape developing across the state.

What follows is a short list of characters and storylines to consider that go beyond the candidates. So pop your popcorn and settle in for some political night drama.

Grace Hood / KUNC

In 2012, more than half of Colorado Latinos registered to vote, and 90 percent actually cast a ballot, according to data analyzed by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News. That makes this group highly sought after in several too-close-to-call 2014 political races.

Nowhere is this quest for turnout more evident than in Weld County, where an estimated 28 percent of the population identifies as Latino. While the county is solidly Republican, Latino voters sided heavily with the Democrats in 2012.

Grace Hood / KUNC

Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall swung through the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to recruit volunteers and get voters fired up for Election Day. The county is well-known as a conservative stronghold expected to support Republican challenger Cory Gardner.

"We need you all to get out, get people into the neighborhoods, knocking on the doors, making the case," Udall told the small group, stressing that every vote counts.

U.S. House of Representatives

Republican State Senator Owen Hill announced he’s dropping his bid for the office. Hill would have run against Republican Party frontrunner Cory Gardner for the chance to represent the GOP against incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Mark Udall. The move marks one of several reshuffling acts happening now in Colorado Republican races for national office.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

As the 2014 legislative session opened Wednesday, newly elected state Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) – the second woman to hold the position – urged lawmakers to problem solve and skip the shouting matches in her opening day speech.

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