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Local Democrats Lee, Merrifield buck Republican tide; 1A wins, 1B loses

Shortly after 7 a.m. on election day (Nov. 4), Kiley Ann Schaumleffel (seated, right) works out a voting issue with election judge Philotite Verne inside a room at the Pikes Peak Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 985 Fillmore St., a county-designated voter center. In the background, filling out their ballots, are Westside brothers Tom DeBias (in hat) and David DeBias. On their way to Denver for their work, they were the first voters at the Boy Scout center location that day. Standing in the middle of the room are election judges Morgan Casey and David Justice.
Westside Pioneer photo
       In a night of strong Republican returns nationwide, voters supported local Democrats Pete Lee and Michael Merrifield for state office in the General Election Nov. 4.
       Also, Ballot Issue 1A (property tax refund for county park projects) passed, 153,084 to 64,382; and Ballot Question 1B (property fee for a new county drainage authority) failed, 106,030 to 92,920. Both proposals had promised potential projects, including work on the Westside; 1A's passage will now mean improvements in Bear Creek Regional Park, officials say.
       Lee won a third two-year term in House District 18 while Merrifield - who had represented HD-18 from 2002 to 2010 - will return to office for four years as the senator for Senate District 11. Their terms will start in January.
       Merrifield topped Republican incumbent Bernie Herpin, who had taken office in the recall of Democrat State Senator John Morse a year ago. The unofficial final results were Merrifield, 18,781; Herpin, 14,592; and Libertarian Norman Dawson, 2,276.
       Lee defeated political newcomer Michael Schlierf, 15,965 to 12,784.
       The voting totals were taken from the El Paso County election website Nov. 5, where they were termed as "unofficial final results."
       District 18 was most recently shaped by a Democrat-controlled Legislature in 2010 but has always been a district that is fairly even between Democrats and Republican registrants within a region that is otherwise mostly Republican. SD-11 is somewhat bigger than HD-18, but both are similar in shape, including Manitou, Old Colorado City and the Westside generally south of Fillmore Street, as well as the downtown and a centralized swath of the city to the east.
       In the state's House District 20, Republican Terri Carver was elected without opposition. The district includes the north part of Pleasant Valley as well as other Westside areas north of Fillmore Street.
       In Manitou Springs, voters defeated a ballot question seeking to make recreational marijuana illegal, 1,801 to 968.
       This was the first general election under a new law adopted by the Colorado Legislature in 2013 that eliminated traditional polling locations. The county mailed ballots to registered voters in mid-October, and they could return them in the mail or at drop boxes. They could also vote (or even register through election day) at various "centers" around the city - regardless of precincts. On the Westside, these centers were at the Boy Scout building on Fillmore Street, the Norris- Penrose Event Center on Lower Gold Camp Road and the County Clerk's Office on Garden of the Gods Road.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 11/4/14, updated 11/5/14; Politics: State/Region)

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