United States Senate election in Colorado, 2004
|Elections in Colorado|
The 2004 United States Senate election in Colorado took place on November 2, 2004 alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell decided to retire instead of seeking a third term. Democratic nominee Ken Salazar won the open seat.
On March 3, 2004, incumbent Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell announced that he would not seek reelection due to health concerns, having recently been treated for prostate cancer and heartburn. Before Campbell's retirement, no prominent Democrat had entered the race, with educator Mike Miles and businessman Rutt Bridges pursuing the Democratic nomination. After Campbell's retirement, many expected popular Republican Governor Bill Owens to enter the race, however he declined to run. Campbell's retirement and Owens' decision not to run prompted a number of prominent Democrats to reexamine the race.
On March 10, the same day Owens announced he would not run, U.S. Congressman Mark Udall entered the race. The next day, state Attorney General Ken Salazar entered the race, leading Udall to immediately withdraw and endorse him. Salazar lost to Mike Miles at the State nominating convention. In spite of this loss, the national Democratic Party backed Salazar with contributions from the DSCC and promotion of Salazar as the only primary candidate.
|Democratic Primary results|
The two candidates got into an ideological battle, as Schaffer attacked Coors because his company had provided benefits to the partners of its gay and lesbian employees, in addition to promoting its beer in gay bars. Coors defended himself by saying that he was opposed to same-sex marriage, and supported a constitutional amendment to ban it, although he noted that he supported civil unions for gay couples. According to the Rocky Mountain News, Coors described his company's pro-LGBT practices as "good business, separate from politics."
Coors defeated Schaffer with 61% of the vote in the primary, with many analysts citing his high name recognition in the state as a primary factor.
|Republican Primary results|
- Pete Coors (R), former CEO and Chairman of Coors Brewing Company
- Ken Salazar (D), State Attorney General
- Douglas Campbell (C)
- Victor Good (Re)
- Finn Gotaas (I)
- John Harris (I)
- Richard Randall (L)
Pete Coors, Chairman of Coors Brewing Company, ran as a moderate conservative. However, Salazar was also a moderate and a highly popular State Attorney General. Coors is also a great-grandson of Adolph Coors, founder of the brewing company. His father is Joseph Coors, President of the company and founding member of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. Salazar narrowly won the open seat. It was one of only two Democratic pickups in the 2004 Senate elections (Illinois was the other).
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics (CPS), Coors gave his own campaign $1,213,657 and received individual donations of $60,550 from other Coors family members.
A state record total of over $11 million was raised during the election.
|Survey USA||October 30||705||± 3.8%||47%||51%||3%|
|Zogby||October 28||600||± 4.1%||46%||52%||4%|
|Rocky Mountain News||October 27||500||± 4.3%||42%||48%||4%|
|Mason-Dixon||October 25||625||± 4.8%||46%||46%||7%|
|Survey USA||October 20||596||± 4.1%||50%||46%||1%|
|Ciruli Assoc||October 19||600||± 4.0%||43%||47%||10%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 18||500||± 4.5%||49%||48%||1%|
|Gallup/CNN/USA Today||October 14||666||± 4.0%||48%||49%||3%|
|Rocky Mountain News||October 13||400||± 4.9%||45%||40%||6%|
|Survey USA||October 5||594||± 4.1%||48%||48%||1%|
|Mason-Dixon||October 4||630||± 5.0%||44%||46%||9%|
|Gallup/CNN/USA Today||October 3||667||± 5.0%||43%||54%||3%|
|Survey USA||Sept. 24||625||± 4.0%||51%||46%||-|
|Ciruli Assoc||Sept. 14||600||± 4.0%||45%||46%||9%|
|Rasmussen Reports||Sept. 16||500||± 4.3%||49%||48%||1%|
|Tarrance Group (R)||Sept. 14||-||± 4.5%||44%||46%||-|
|RMN/News 4||Sept. 14||500||± 4.3%||42%||53%||4%|
|Tarrance Group (R)||August 24||600||± 4.0%||43%||47%||10%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 19||500||± 4.5%||45%||49%||4%|
|Survey USA||August 14||618||± 4.0%||48%||47%||5%|
|General election results|
|Independent||John R. Harris||8,442||0.40%|
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing|
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