Nicole Nicoletta is Manitou Springs' newest mayor after the completion of the official election canvass.

After El Paso County election officials considered military and overseas votes, which were due by November 12, a 10-vote margin still separated Nicole Nicoletta from Coreen Toll.

Ryan Parsell with the clerks office says the race was close, but says it wasn't "close enough to trigger a recount.  Close enough certainly to generate a lot of interest in what the procedure is or would have been if a recount had been necessary."


Colorado has largely been spared from this summer's political wrangling ahead of the 2016 presidential race. But as Republicans nationally are working to narrow the presidential field, the GOP in Colorado wants to widen its field of candidates to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet next year.

"The numbers tell us Senator Bennet is vulnerable," said Republican state party Chairman Steve House. "It would be great to hold onto the U.S. Senate. Republicans have to defend a number of seats more than the Democrats."

 Last month, KRCC welcomed StoryCorps and their mobile booth back to Colorado Springs.  StoryCorps, a non-profit organization, dedicates itself to recording and preserving the oral histories of people from all backgrounds. They store these records at the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress. In the following interview, Colorado Springs' first female mayor, Mary Lou Makepeace, and current Colorado Springs Councilwoman Jan Martin sit down together to discuss what it means to be a woman in politics.

On this episode of The Big Something Radio Programme, news director Andrea Chalfin speaks with the authors of a paper about the conflict between the military and ranchers in Piñon Canyon; Big Something intern Emelie Frojen looks into the beetle kill on Wolf Creek Pass; Former Colorado Springs Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace and former City Councilwoman Jan Martin look back on their careers in politics; And a portrait of Manitou artist Charles Rockey as he releases a book of fables and illuminations 15 years in the making.


D. Utterback

Colorado’s legislative session opened last week. As part of our Capitol Conversation series, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland discusses the beginning of the session with other political reporters, and touches on some of the bills that were introduced during opening week.


One hundred lawmakers from across Colorado converged on the state capitol Wednesday for opening day of the annual legislative session. Freshman lawmakers from both parties were officially sworn in and both chambers which have new leaders.

Much of the day’s attention was focused on the Senate, where Republicans gained the majority for the first time in a decade. For all their gains, newly elected senate president Bill Cadman [R- Colorado Springs] gave a rather subdued speech – talking less about policy and more on building trust and civility among lawmakers.

Colorado General Assembly

Dickey Lee Hullinghorst [D-Boulder] will be the next speaker of the House. She discusses her priorities and her party’s agenda for the session, as a part of a series of interviews with legislative leaders.

Dickey Lee Hullinghorst discusses the Governor’s Oil and Gas Task Force

Colorado General Assembly

House minority leader Brian DelGrosso [R-Loveland] discusses his thoughts on the upcoming legislative session as part of a series of interviews with legislative leaders. DelGrosso was the minority leader for the last two years, and his party made gains in the house last November to narrow the Democratic majority.

DelGrosso on Spilt Legislative Control

State lawmakers return to the capitol for the annual legislative session on Wednesday, January 7th. Bente Birkeland gets a preview of what to expect as part of our Capitol Conversation series.

file photo

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach has announced he will not run for a second term in April’s Municipal Election.  KRCC’s Rachel Gonchar has more.

Bach was elected to a four-year term in May 2011, as the city’s first “Strong Mayor” under a new charter adopted the year before. The charter transformed city government from a council-appointed city manager model to a council-elected system that gives the mayor more control of the city’s operations.

Colorado Springs residents have until December 8th to apply for the council seat recently vacated by Joel Miller. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

Applicants must live in District 2 [.pdf], be at least 25 years of age, and both a US citizen and registered voter. The new council member will be expected to attend numerous meetings and events and meet the required minimum 30-35 hours of work a month. 


Colorado's statehouse will have divided control in January. Republicans gained a one-seat majority in the state senate, while Democrats held onto their house majority. Bente Birkeland talks to statehouse reporters about what that means for some key issues lawmakers hope to tackle.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The notion of "political theater" took a different sort of turn on Thursday when the Democratic challenger in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District debated pseudo-chickens. 

Three people dressed in bright yellow chicken suits served as stand-ins for Republican Doug Lamborn at a debate with his Democratic challenger, Irv Halter.  The move comes after Halter and others say Lamborn is refusing to debate.

After four years in office Governor John Hickenlooper is facing the toughest campaign of his political career. A recent poll from The Denver Post shows his race against Republican former Congressman Bob Beauprez statistically tied. What's more, Beauprez is also making gains on Hickenlooper in the Denver metro area and in rural Colorado.

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez is facing a close race against Governor John Hickenlooper in his gubernatorial bid. Back in 2006, he made several missteps in his campaign for governor, but in this 2014 run he's run a much tighter ship.

Beauprez-U.S. House / Hickenlooper-State of Colorado

Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper and his Republican challenger Bob Beauprez met for one of their final debates last night at UCCS, sponsored by the school and the Colorado Springs Gazette, Independent and Business Journal.

Topics included jobs and the economy, energy development, and education.  

One question from the audience focused on climate change and the role people play in it.

With Colorado's U.S. Senate race too close to call, both parties are on an all-out blitz to court as many voters as they can prior to the November election. The youth vote has traditionally helped Democrats, but Republicans see an opening with national support for President Obama falling among the millennial generation.

Democratic Senator Mark Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner had a spirited debate Tuesday night hosted by The Denver Post. Both candidates are locked in a tight race and both stayed on message in the hour-long debate.

Udall attacked Gardner as extreme and out of touch, Gardner criticized Udall for being in lockstep with President Barack Obama.

It's a race that is largely flying under the radar in Colorado this election season, owing to what many say is its preordained outcome. Republican Ken Buck and Democrat Vic Meyers, the candidates vying for the open seat in Colorado's vast 4th Congressional District, squared off Wednesday in a debate hosted by Colorado Public Television and CBS 4.

This was the third such meeting for the candidates in advance of the mid-terms.

Colorado's U.S. Senate race is a considered by many to be a tossup. Incumbent Senator Mark Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner are trying to win over as many key voting blocs as they can before Election Day – and that includes women.

In the previous close Senate contest between appointed Democratic Senator Michael Bennet and Republican Ken Buck, women played a critical role. During the waning days of that 2010 race, Bennet focused his attention on the female vote – and narrowly won. With women making up 51.4 percent of all registered voters in Colorado this election, it's a scenario Democrats are hoping to repeat.

Multiple polls on Colorado's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races were recently released and there are some different perspectives on where things stand with just seven weeks until the November election.

Most polls show the U.S Senate race as being too close to call. The Denver Post recently gave incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall a narrow edge over his Republican challenger Congressman Cory Gardner, but within the margin of error. A separate USA Today Poll gives Gardner a one point edge. The most recent Quinnipiac Poll was more of an outlier. It gave Gardner the lead, 48 – 40 over Udall.

A new poll released today from Quinnipiac University shows Democratic Senate incumbent Mark Udall 8 points behind his Republican challenger Congressman Cory Gardner. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Beauprez-U.S. House / Hickenlooper-State of Colorado

Less than a week after a Denver Post poll listed the Governor’s race as too close to call, a new poll out today has Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez ten points ahead of Governor John Hickenlooper. Bente Birkeland has more.

U.S. House

In one of his first interviews since winning the GOP nod to challenge Governor John Hickenlooper, Bob Beauprez sat down with Bente Birkeland to discuss some of the key issues in the campaign. The Catholic former congressman explains his support for the death penalty, and why he decided to run for Governor after losing his gubernatorial race in 2006 by double digits.

Four Republicans are vying to be the lone candidate to run against Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper in the fall. But with the primary election coming up on June 24th, only two of the candidates participated in a taped debate hosted by CBS 4 and Colorado Public Television. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Brian Price is a visiting professor at Colorado College from the University of Toronto, where he teaches in the Department of Visual Studies. He will be giving a talk entitled “Aesthetic Inequality and Political Seriousness,” tonight at 7 in the Cornerstone Arts Center. KRCC's Gracie Ramsdell sat down with Price to learn a little more about his work. For more information about the event, click HERE.

Colorado has formally launched its campaign to put in a bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Republican leaders announced members of the host committee late last week. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

D. Utterback

It didn’t take long before tempers flared during the first full week of Colorado’s legislative session. In the state senate, party leaders had an intense back and forth about a Republican bill to repeal universal background checks for gun purchases. Bente Birkeland analyzes the dynamic as part of our capitol conversation series.

The president of the group that led efforts to recall a state senator in Pueblo is running for clerk and recorder.  KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.

Victor Head is currently the president of Pueblo Freedom and Rights which recently led a campaign to recall Democratic state senator Angela Giron. 

The clerk and recorder oversees vehicle registration, marriage licenses, and county elections. Head says he wants to improve training for election judges and increase citizen oversight during the process. 

D. Utterback

State lawmakers are back to work under the gold dome for the annual legislative session. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to political reporters about the first few days, and the Governor’s state of the state address.