The results and impacts of Colorado’s recent elections were widely regarded as positive by those in the energy industry. By narrowly winning a second term, Governor John Hickenlooper will be able to keep intact his oil and gas task force compromise, which prompted the removal of several anti-fracing initiatives from the ballot. Also, Cory Gardner, who previously represented energy powerhouse Weld County in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is an unapologetic supporter of the industry, defeated incumbent Mark Udall for one of the two U.S. Senate seats. The Politico described Udall’s positions on horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and associated regulations as “nuanced.” Gardner’s campaign complained that Udall’s positions on these energy issues were “impossible to nail down.” Having Gardner’s voice of unequivocal support in the Senate is encouraging to Colorado natives and transplants who work in the state’s booming energy industry.
The question of which party would gain control over the two bodies in the Colorado State Legislature was not immediately answered on election night. However, on November 7, Republicans ceded a 34-31 majority in the State House to the Democratic Party. Later that evening, however, Republican Beth Martinez Humenik officially squeaked out an 876 vote nail-biter over Democrat Judy Solano, which gave the Republicans a slim 18-17 majority and control of the State Senate for the first time in a decade. It is anticipated that the split legislature will consider the oil and gas task force’s recommendations and proposals once those are reported back to the Governor in February 2015.
Overall, these recent election results point to a bright forecast of responsible, sustainable oil and gas development in Colorado moving forward.