UPDATE: Stephen Ludwig was declared the winner of the at-large seat Thursday morning.
Winners in three of the four University of Colorado Board of Regents races were known a day after Tuesday’s election, while the fate of the final spot remained too close to call.
In the race for the at-large seat, which is elected statewide, incumbent Stephen Ludwig, D-Denver, held a 2 percent lead over Brian Davidson, M.D., an Arvada Republican. Ludwig won a close race against Davidson in 2006.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Ludwig had 1,020,731 votes, or 47 percent, against Davidson’s 969,877 votes, or 45 percent. Daniel Ong, a Boulder Libertarian, had 112,645 votes, or 5 percent; Tyler Belmont, a 17-year-old American Constitution candidate from Colorado Springs, had 59,472 votes, or 3 percent.
Ludwig is a University of Colorado Colorado Springs graduate and longtime public relations, marketing and journalism professional. He led the effort for a new guaranteed admissions program across CU, and served as vice chair of the Board of Regents in 2010-11. Davidson earned medical and master’s degrees at CU, and is physician and anesthesiologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He serves on many hospital and medical boards, including the University of Colorado Hospital Medical Board.
In the 5th Congressional District, incumbent Kyle Hybl, R-Colorado Springs, ran unopposed by a Democratic candidate. As of Wednesday afternoon, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, he’d received 188,182 votes, or 71 percent. Also running were Steven Hartmann, a Colorado Springs Libertarian, who garnered 43,990 votes, or 17 percent, and Gina Biolchini, American Constitution candidate from Colorado Springs, with 34,059 votes, or 12 percent.
“I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to serve again as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado system,” Hybl said. “It’s truly an exceptional system where people are working day in and day out, making differences in the lives of students and the people of the state of Colorado.”
Hybl earned a bachelor’s and a law degree at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a Colorado Springs attorney, civic leader and Air Force veteran who served as chair of the Board of Regents 2010-12. He first was elected in 2006.
Hybl said he expects the board members to continue working well together on determining high-level policy and long-range views for the institution, “and then trust leadership to execute on that.”
“As I said when I ran last cycle and this cycle, I’m trying to focus on accountability at all levels of the institution, especially in regard to student achievement, because that’s our greatest measure of success,” Hybl said. “I also want to make sure we’re using the University of Colorado system as an effective economic driver. I think evidence of that is that we spin off about 10 companies a year thanks to the good work of our faculty.”
Irene Griego, Ph.D., D-Lakewood, will continue to represent the 7th Congressional District. As of Wednesday afternoon, with 92 percent of precincts reporting, she had 152,185 votes, or 52 percent, while Mary Dambman, a Westminster Republican, had 120,454 votes, or 41 percent; Eric Robinson, a Lakewood Libertarian, had 22,493 votes, or 7 percent.
She began serving on the board last year after being appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Griego took the place of Monisha Merchant, who resigned to join Sen. Michael Bennet’s staff. By winning Tuesday’s election, Griego will serve the final two years of Merchant’s term; regents otherwise serve six-year terms.
Griego said she’s honored to represent Coloradans by serving on the board, and that she appreciates the support she’s received from the university community, especially the students.
“It was a great experience for me,” Griego said of the election campaign. “It really demonstrated the power of community and people working together. What I saw in the 7th Congressional District is so many dedicated community members who want to do right thing.”
Griego’s 38-year education career – as a teacher, principal, administrator and university instructor – took root at CU. She earned her bachelor’s degree at CU-Boulder and doctorate at CU Denver, with a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in between.
She said she looks forward to continue doing “everything I can to support the University of Colorado.”
“My personal leadership style is working collaboratively with people,” she said. “It’s important for us to have a united team to support this university. I will do whatever I can to help that happen and to help the students who go to our university.”
Glen Gallegos, a Grand Junction Republican, won the race to represent Colorado’s 3rd District. As of Wednesday afternoon, he had 163,199 votes, or 53 percent; Jessica Garrow, a Carbondale Democrat, had 141,877 votes, or 47 percent.
Gallegos worked for 26 years as a teacher, coach, principal and executive director of instruction for Eagle and Mesa County school districts. He is a former member and chair of the Mesa State Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Governor’s Education Statewide Leadership Council.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” Gallegos said. “I feel like, with my business background and my time on the board at Colorado Mesa University, I have some good skills that I can use to help with.”
Gallegos will take over for Tilman “Tillie” Bishop, R-Grand Junction, who announced in January that he would not seek a second term. Gallegos referred to himself as a regent “newbie,” while lauding Bishop as a “legend.”
“I know there’s some big shoes to fill there,” Gallegos said. “On the other hand, I think I bring some different perspectives as well.
“Before I set any hard and fast expectations, I want to learn, get to know people, learn how the CU system works. I want to tour the campuses and get a ground-level look at everything,” said Gallegos, whose daughter graduated from CU-Boulder last spring. “One thing I want to look at is affordability and accessibility for people in the 3rd District: We’re kind of in the hinterlands down here, and I want to make sure the CU campuses are always open to kids from the 3rd District.”
In making their choices, Colorado voters returned a Republican majority to the board; the count will be either 5-4 or 6-3, depending on the outcome of the at-large race.
Winning board members will be sworn into office in January.
— Jay Dedrick, CU System University Relations