Redrawn borders made the race for Colorado House District 3 a nail-biter, with incumbent Democrat Daniel Kagan narrowly defeating Republican Brian Watson by a margin of less than 1,600 votes.
Unofficial results the morning of Nov. 7 show Kagan garnering 50 percent of the vote, 16,883 votes to Watson’s 15,323. Watson got about 45 percent of the vote, with the remainder going to Libertarian David Jurist.
Formerly a district where Democrats were the majority of voters, redrawn boundaries created an almost even split between Democrats, Republicans and independents.
“My take-away from this election is that the people of House District 3 don’t want extremism or ideology to dominate,” said Kagan. ‘They want common-sense, practical, bipartisan solutions to the problems we face.”
Kagan and Watson endured one of the state’s more nasty and expensive mud fights, lobbing a series of unflattering campaign mailers and robo-calls.
“I think this was a hard-fought, spirited race and Brian Watson did a great job of getting his message out, but in the end, voters decided that my record of constructive solutions has been good,” Kagan said.
The district is made up of Englewood, a strip of northern Littleton, Cherry Hills Village, Sheridan and Greenwood Village.
A Yale-educated lawyer, Kagan served as a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and as an attorney for the Hillary Clinton campaign in Colorado.
Kagan was appointed to District 3 in 2009, filling the vacancy left by Rep. Anne McGihon’s resignation, eventually winning a full term in 2010.
He serves on the House Finance and Judiciary committees and has championed legislation to preserve low-income housing, and measures to assist Colorado school-based health centers.
As for Kagan, education and jobs remain at the top of the priority list. He states that schools within the district are inadequate, and that jobs are not growing fast enough.
“We have to have the best schools, and we’re not there yet,” he said. “As for jobs, we’ve got to make sure our infrastructure, business environment and the education system are conducive for those to start or grow a business.”
Kagan points to his successful business background as well as a resume that includes time as a flight instructor and a time defending indigents in Washington, D.C.
Watson, a Colorado native, earned a bachelor's degree in business with an emphasis in real estate from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1993.
He spent time as a commercial real estate broker before launching his own business. He owns Northstar Commercial Properties as well as a number of other companies located primarily along the Front Range.
During his campaign, Watson faced scrutiny over accusations he owed $279,000 in property taxes, a charge he denied.
Calls made to Watson after the election were not returned.
“I look forward to returning to office,” said Kagan. “I truly appreciate the opportunity to serve.”