AURORA | In what has been one of the most watched, expensive and contentious house races in the country, Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman secured his fourth term to Congress.
With 68 percent of ballots counted, Coffman lead his Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff 54 percent to 41 percent.
The national Democratic and Republican parties poured millions into the contest, one of the most expensive races in state history.
The 6th District is divided almost evenly among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. For years a Republican stronghold, the district was redrawn in 2012 to include a much more diverse population, including a Latino contingent that now makes up about 20 percent of the district’s population.
On top of a decorated military career, Coffman previously served as both a State Representative and Senator, State Treasurer and Colorado Secretary of State.
The two candidates have raised more than $9 million, according to federal campaign finance disclosures. The national parties and their allies have spent several million more. According to the Wesleyan Media Project, the race checks in at sixth-highest in the nation this year for television ad volume.
During his victory speech, Coffman said in both English and Spanish that he learned the language “because for me it is very important to be able to share my vision to create more jobs and more opportunities for everyone in Colorado.”
Coffman is the only member of Congress who served in the military during both Iraq Wars.
“This has been a very tough race, and I am a better candidate for it,” Coffman told supporters Tuesday night.
Coffman’s tone won over some voters of color in Colorado’s most diverse congressional seat.
“He’s very honest,” said 38-year-old Coffman supporter Jerome Scott, who is black. “I like him because he speaks the truth.”
Romanoff, who lost a Senate primary four years ago, pointed out in his concession speech that he raised more money than any congressional challenger in the nation this year.
“I don’t want you to draw the conclusion that you can’t run a race based on issues and ideas,” Romanoff told a crowd of glum supporters at an Aurora barbecue restaurant.
In other congressional races, incumbents were cruising to re-election, with the state poised to keep its U.S. House balance of four Republicans and three Democrats.
In the only open race, Republican Ken Buck of Weld County defeated Democrat Vic Meyers in the 4th Congressional District. That seat was vacated by Republican Cory Gardner, who defeated Democratic Sen. Mark Udall on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story