Democrat state Rep. Christine Scanlan defeated Republican Ali Hasan by about 9 points in a compelling, closely-watched race for Colorado House District 56, according to the unofficial results Tuesday night.
"I worked hard this past session for the district," Scanlan said upon hearing the results. "I care a lot about issues that are important to us, and I think people understood where I was coming from."
The Summit school-board president and mother of three achieved victory against an opponent with four times the financing, plenty of time and an elaborate campaign that impressed experts on both sides of the aisle.
"It's been a wild ride, and it's absolutely been a roller coaster," said Scanlan, who lives in Summit Cove.
Hasan, of Beaver Creek, said it was a "rough night," but that he has "not a single regret" regarding his campaign's run.
"The monorail is still a wonderful idea," he said. "I'm considering a movement to put it on a statewide ballot."
Hasan, 28, said he has no plans for another run at political office. He'll continue working on a screenplay about the late Pakistani political leader Benazir Bhutto, as well as spend more time with his dog and family.
Scanlan, 44, said the competition helped her focus on working hard, and the win is gratifying.
"I do want to compliment the Hasan team," she said. "They ran a heck of a race, and I think I ran a better race because of what a good candidate he was."
Scanlan was appointed to the seat in January. She gained statewide recognition in her first term, carrying an education-reform bill and standing up against tolls on Interstate 70.
Her campaign drew considerable support from locals in small donations. She also received money from a variety of political groups.
As of Oct. 22, she had raised $79,130, which is about a quarter of Hasan's $315,427 in contributions. Hasan contributed about 93 percent of that from his family's large fortune.
Scanlan said during her campaign that she prefers legislating to politicking.
Hasan's catchy advertising, knocking on more than 18,000 doors and handing out eco-friendly "Hasan" tote bags gained widespread name recognition that experts say counts extra on a ballot as lengthy as this year's in Colorado.
The candidates ran a clean race, mostly focusing on their own qualifications and approach to issues.
However, the 527 groups tried to kick up the ante in the last couple weeks, mailing out fliers aiming to align Hasan with President Bush " and his support of the Iraq War " in a negative light.
The mailings targeted only Hasan, but were not endorsed by Scanlan.
On I-70 issues, Scanlan supports a methodical, research-driven approach contrary to Hasan's proposed multi-billion dollar I-70 monorail project.
She also calls for lane widening and auxiliary lanes to help ease traffic woes in the interim and beyond completion of any mass-transit project.
Regarding the pine-beetle epidemic, Scanlan took time out of the race to lobby in Washington, D.C., for $200 million in federal wildfire-mitigation support.
Hasan, meanwhile, campaigned to eliminate regulations that prevent local entities from cutting down trees in the national forests.
Scanlan serves on the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources committee and the Education committee.
She has lived in Summit county since 1995 with her husband, Tim, and three daughters.
She has a bachelor of arts in history and a master of arts in nonprofit organization management from Regis University in Denver. Scanlan also serves as president of the Mountain Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, which serves 10 Colorado school districts.
House District 56 represents Summit, Eagle and Lake counties.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.