Rep. Mike Coffman defeats Andrew Romanoff to retain 6th Congressional District seat

AURORA, Colo. - Republican Rep. Mike Coffman defeated Democrat Andrew Romanoff in the 6th Congressional District race on Tuesday night.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Coffman led Romanoff, 53 percent to 42 percent -- or 128,860 votes to 102,993 votes.

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"My thanks to the voters for allowing me to continue to serve our nation in the United States House of Representatives, where I will serve with the same honor and integrity that I served as a solider in the United States Army and an officer in the United States Marine Corps," Coffman told cheering supporters at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center.

"To those of you who supported me in what began as the most competitive House race in the entire country, thank you, thank you. To those who did not support me, I pledge to listen to your concerns and to do everything I can to bridge the partisan divide that has plagued Washington, D.C., and polarized this nation."

"To my opponent, Andrew Romanoff, thank you for running. This has been a very tough race and I am a better candidate for it," Coffman added.

Romanoff, the former state House speaker, was equally magnanimous in defeat as his addressed his supporters.

"A short time ago I called Congressman Coffman to congratulate him on his victory in this campaign and I will ask you to share your congratulations with him as well, because he has served our country with honor and distinction," Romanoff said.

Romanoff's campaign to unseat the three-term Republican was one of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the country. It was also the most costly congressional race in Colorado history.

The two candidates raised more than $9 million, according to federal campaign records. And their national parties and political allies poured several million more into the race.  

Romanoff had fought for an advantage in the changing congressional district that curves around Denver's eastern suburbs. While the district has been controlled by Republicans for more than three decades, it was redrawn after the 2010 Census to include more Democrats and unaffiliated voters and now has a population that's 20 percent.

Colorado's number of Latino voters turning 18 and eligible to vote is larger than any other demographic in the state.

Romanoff tried to cast Coffman as an out-of-touch conservative who had been a strong opponent of illegal immigration.

"It is very important to me that we have, in this district, a congressman who respects our diversity," Romanoff said in the pair's final debate last week -- a first in Colorado as both candidates spoke only in Spanish.

Romanoff, a more fluent Spanish speaker, often describes himself as the "the son and grandson of immigrants."

Coffman worked hard to reach out to his shifting constituency, softening his tone on immigration and learning to speak Spanish.

"I grew up in a working-class family in Aurora, earning the minimum wage," Coffman said during the all-Spanish debate. "I know what it's like to work hard and for many hours to achieve the American dream."

"I think it's important for Republicans to reach out to the Hispanic community and I think it's important to show respect to do it in their language," Coffman added.

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