Brown-McLachlan gap narrows

Democratic Party volunteer Wendy Bryant greets fellow volunteer Mark Chambers on Wednesday morning inside the La Plata County Democrats’ headquarters. President Barack Obama’s re-election and Mike McLachlan’s apparent defeat of GOP incumbent state Rep. J. Paul Brown had volunteers in a celebratory mood. Enlargephoto

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Democratic Party volunteer Wendy Bryant greets fellow volunteer Mark Chambers on Wednesday morning inside the La Plata County Democrats’ headquarters. President Barack Obama’s re-election and Mike McLachlan’s apparent defeat of GOP incumbent state Rep. J. Paul Brown had volunteers in a celebratory mood.

A strong showing by Republican J. Paul Brown in late-reporting Archuleta County narrowed the vote margin in the race for the 59th Colorado House district but did not appear enough to overtake Democratic challenger Mike McLachlan’s lead.

With all six counties in the district reporting as of Wednesday afternoon, McLachlan led Brown 21,169 votes to 20,389, a difference of only 780. It reduced McLachlan’s edge to 51 percent to 49 percent.

Brown gave a concession speech at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night at the Durango Elks Lodge. Archuleta County votes still were pending then.

Results remain unofficial because provisional ballots need to be counted for each county. La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Lee Parker said that should happen by early next week.

A recount would be triggered if the difference between the number of votes cast for the two candidates is equal to or less than half a percent of the votes cast for the leading candidate.

Right now, the difference is 3.7 percentage points, so Brown would have to claim a disproportionate share of provisional votes to turn the tables and recapture the overall lead from McLachlan. Parker said that is unlikely but that nothing can be ruled out.

“The (provisional) ballots probably won’t make a difference. But we’ll watch and see what happens,” Brown said Wednesday.

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