Breaking the Republican Party's decade-and-a-half hold on the American West, Sen. Barack Obama has handily won Colorado.
In capturing the state's nine electoral votes, Obama was buoyed by the support of the state's growing Hispanic population, as well as a significant political realignment rippling through the state.
In recent years, Colorado has trended Democratic—it has a popular Democratic governor and seems poised tonight to elect a second Democratic senator—and polls leading up to the election had given Obama a small but stable edge in the state.
Obama appears to have done slightly better than Sen. John Kerry in the rugged counties of western Colorado—traditional Republican strongholds. But his biggest sources of support, returns show, are voters in Denver and its northern suburbs (Boulder), whose ranks have swelled in recent years.
(Colorado's population jumped by more than 13 percent since 2000, with most of the growth clustering near Denver.)
Larimer County, which is north of Denver, went for Bush in 2004 by a 5-point margin. Tonight, with most of the county's results already in, Obama seems poised to capture the county by about 10 points.
Obama's strategic interest in Colorado has been evident in his frequent campaign trips to—and heavy investment in—the state this summer and fall. In September, he even made a campaign stop in the city of Grand Junction, on the far western side of the state near the Utah border. The last time a Democratic presidential candidate campaigned there, his name was Harry Truman.
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