DENVER - John Hickenlooper has won a second term as governor, narrowly beating Republican challenger Bob Beauprez.
"The voters of Colorado have spoken," a visibly tired Hickenlooper said in a news conference at the state Capitol more than 14 hours after the polls closed. "We are incredibly grateful that we have earned a second term as Colorado’s governor."
As supporters chanted "four more years," Hickenlooper thanked a variety of supporters and Coloradans.
"Thank you Colorado, we owe it all to you," Hickenloper said Wednesday morning.
MORE | Read about Hickenlooper's plans for his second term
Beauprez conceded the race Wednesday at around 3:40 p.m. and released the following statement:
"This morning I'm writing you a different message than I had hoped. We have been watching the results as votes continue to be counted and unfortunately at this point, even with a handful of counties still reporting, there just aren't enough options to get us across the finish line.
I just spoke with Governor Hickenlooper. We had a good conversation and I congratulated him on a hard fought race.
There are so many people who worked so hard, and words can't express our gratitude. Especially those of you around the state who knocked on doors, made phone calls, chipped in to contribute, and gave us your time and talent believing with us that together we could build a Stronger Colorado.
As Coloradans, we are the heirs of the frontier spirit. The spirit of miners and trappers, sodbusters and homesteaders - brave men and women who planted their roots in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains where they gazed in awe across the most inspirational landscapes at the best of America the Beautiful.
They came here not for a life of ease, but to pursue a dream. To fulfill a yearning belief that there is a better life waiting ahead, and that if we work hard, and we persevere, we can achieve that dream.
That frontier spirit which drew the pioneers here in the past gives us the courage we need to pursue the opportunities of the future.
Colorado can still be that shining city on a hill - a beacon to the nation, a light to the world.
Because this is Colorado. And where on earth would you rather be?"
When the latest results were released at 9:48 a.m. Wednesday, Hickenlooper had 908,797 votes to Beauprez's 883,334.
The numbers had flipped overnight.
At midnight, Hickenlooper trailed Beauprez by 5,083 votes. By 2:45 a.m., Hickenlooper had climbed into the lead by a margin of 8,029. At 5 a.m., Hickenlooper's lead had increased to 13,506. At 7:18 a.m. Hickenlooper's lead had increased to more than 22,000.
By 10 a.m., the lead remained at 25,000 votes.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Who won & lost in CO
MAP OF RESULTS: BY COUNTY
The contest for Colorado governor has been very tight throughout the campaign, with no clear leader in most election polls conducted.
Hickenlooper has made Colorado's improving economy the cornerstone of his pitch to voters, consistently citing the state's 4.7 percent unemployment rate during a series of debates this fall.
He ran for reelection after his first 4-year term. He is a former Denver mayor, geologist and owner of the Wynkoop brewery in LoDo. His most controversial decisions during his first term was granting convicted killer Nathan Dunlap an indefinite stay of execution and signing new gun legislation into law.
Hickenlooper's biggest successes are arguably flood recovery and the management of the legalization of marijuana, even though he opposed Amendment 64.
MORE | One on One with Bob Beauprez
Beauprez contended that Colorado's economic recovery was still shaky, and has campaigned on a platform of "pro job, pro opportunity" and less government.
Beauprez is a former congressman and Colorado Republican party chairman. He ran for governor in 2006, but lost to Bill Ritter. Beauprez has also been a land developer and led Heritage Bank.
He won the divided Republican primary earlier this year with only 30 percent of the vote.
The GOP held an edge in voter turnout ahead of Tuesday, with Republican voters casting just over 100,000 more votes than Democrats.
--- Big night for Republicans ---
In other Colorado races Tuesday, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner defeated Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in one of the priciest U.S. Senate races in the nation.
The contest was considered a key battleground as Republicans sought to pick up six seats to take control of the Senate. They got more than that on Tuesday.
Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder won a fourth term. He defeated Republican challenger George Leing in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, which includes the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.
GOP Rep. Scott Tipton won a third term in Colorado's largest congressional district, defeating Democratic challenger Abel Tapia of Pueblo in the 3rd District.
Weld County Republican Ken Buck won the open race in Colorado's 4th Congressional District. Buck defeated Democrat Vic Meyers.
Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, Colorado's longest-serving member of Congress, won a 10th term to represent Colorado's 1st Congressional District. DeGette easily defeated Republican challenger Martin Walsh on Tuesday.
--- 3 of 4 state proposals rejected ---
The amendment to allow expanded gambling at some of Colorado's horse racetracks failed. Amendment 68 lost with 71 percent voting "No" and 29 percent voting "Yes."
Coloradans also rejected Proposition 105, a measure that would have required labeling of genetically modified foods.
Voters also rejected Amendment 67 in Colorado, a proposal to add "unborn human beings" to the state's criminal code, a measure that some feared could ban abortion.
- Gardner wins US Senate seat over Udall
- Coffman beats Romanoff in 6th District race
- Tipton wins 3rd term in Congress
- Ken Buck elected for Colorado's 4th District
- Rep. Diana DeGette wins 10th term in US House
- Democrat Jared Polis re-elected to US House
- Racetrack gambling amendment fails
- Coloradans reject GMO labeling
- 'Definition of Personhood' amendment fails