Election results: No love for stormwater, Halter; Manitou to keep RMJ

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Another 5,000 tallied votes have changed virtually nothing in El Paso County. And with estimates suggesting that there are fewer than 25,000 votes still outstanding, we're calling it a night. Check back Wednesday for additional coverage. And enjoy the lack of political ads on TV.

——— ORIGINAL POST, 7:45 P.M. ———

With about 206,000 votes counted out of an expected 235,000, El Paso County appears to be nixing a proposed stormwater solution.

Dark humor: County Question 1B supporter Carol Baker brought her ark to the Ritz Grill. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Dark humor: County Question 1B supporter Carol Baker brought her ark to the Ritz Grill.

On County Question 1B, about 54 percent of voters are saying "no." That's about 96,000 voters, as compared to about 82,000 in favor of the regional plan to deal with backlogs in stormwater infrastructure and maintenance.

With fellow 1B supporters at the Ritz Grill, Jan Martin sounded ready to look ahead to the city election in April.

"I think it will be a big issue in the mayor's race, of how to solve our stormwater problem," she said. "We all agree it needs to be taken care of. We need to find a plan the public supports."

Added Dave Munger, who chaired the stormwater effort: "It still has to be fixed. We don't have the option of not doing anything."

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office released its large first wave of results just after 7 p.m., and has already updated them; you'll be able to follow future updates to them here. In other major headlines so far:

• Controversial U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn is sailing through his latest Democratic challenge. Lamborn has nearly 60 percent of the El Paso County vote, good for a 40,000-vote advantage over Democrat Irv Halter, who faced an uphill battle in a Republican district but had hoped his military record and fiscal conservatism would give him a boost. In an interview after results were posted, Halter said, "It's a tough road for Democrats." He added, “I just hope that people start to look beyond party. If people don’t, I believe it’s an existential threat to democracy.”

Manitou Springs will be keeping recreational marijuana sales. Almost 63 percent of voters so far have said "no" on 2G. Ramah, however, will not be joining Manitou: 41 voters said "no" to marijuana legalization, as compared to 11 saying "yes." And Palmer Lake apparently is voting down RMJ sales as well, by about 90 votes.

• In Senate District 11, the site of last year's bitter recall of John Morse, Michael Merrifield seems in position to reclaim the seat for the Democrats. Merrifield is up 51 percent to 43 percent over incumbent Republican Bernie Herpin, with Libertarian Norman Dawson pulling the other 6 percent. While Herpin declined to forecast the final vote, he said, "It's been an honor to serve. I'm proud of my accomplishments in office."

• Despite the backing of some local heavyweights, including the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, developer Chuck Murphy and Suzi Bach, Democrat Jariah Walker is far behind incumbent Republican Peggy Littleton in El Paso County Commission District 5. Littleton has pulled about 64 percent of the vote so far, and is up a full 10,000 votes. Said Walker: "I think the main message is that unfortunately, partisan politics aren't dead in Colorado Springs."

• While incumbent Pete Lee leads in House District 18, 54 percent to 46 percent over Republican Michael Schlierf, his fellow Democrat in fickle District 17 is in trouble. Incumbent Tony Exum is down 49 percent to 44 percent to Republican Kit Roupe. About 7 percent of votes are going to Libertarian candidate Susan Quilleash.

• Races in heavily Republican House Districts 14, 15 and 16 offer no surprises — unless you consider it a surprise that Gordon Klingenschmitt's getting a full 70 percent of the vote in HD 15. This, despite Klingenschmitt offending even some within his own party by comparing Democratic legislator Jared Polis to ISIS operatives, among other incendiary remarks. Klingenschmitt's opponent, Democrat Lois Fornander, said she figured from the beginning that it would be "a big cliff to climb." She added, "And I think now, it was a sheer wall."

Reporting from J. Adrian Stanley, Griffin Swartzell and Pam Zubeck contributed to this story.

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