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Democrat Brianna Titone, right, Colorado's first transgender candidate for state representative, speaks to a crowd at a protest on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol in Denver, Nov 8, 2018. (Marvin Anani, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Democrat Brianna Titone was being interviewed by a local television news station on Saturday evening about what it would mean to be Colorado’s  first transgender state representative when suddenly she received a phone call.

On the other end of the line was Republican Vicki Pyne, with whom she’d been locked in a tight battle over the Arvada-area House District 27. At one point, the race was within just 12 votes.

Pyne was calling to concede.

“Because this counting processed dragged on for so long,” Titone told The Colorado Sun, “it was not as climactic as it could have been. It was a relief to get the call, though, because I knew both sides knew what the result was.”

As of Sunday morning, Titone was holding a lead of less than 400 votes over Pyne.

Titone’s victory is stunning not only because of its historic nature, but also because she won a district that two years ago drastically favored Republican Rep. Lang Sias.

Sias beat out Wade Michael Norris by roughly 12 percentage points and some 5,000 votes.

In 2014, Republican Libby Szabo won by a similar margin in the district.

As for how Titone did it?

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“Running in a GOP district was something we were very aware of and we focused on our data to get to the persuasive voters we could seeing to our side,” Titone said. “We had a good message of doing the work of the people and many of my qualifications — work experience, and stances on issues — were responsive to the middle of the road voters, especially those that felt disenfranchised. I wanted to bring the government back to the people through conversation and discussion which in their view has been absent in their representation.”

Titone says she also knocked on thousands of doors and tried to make the contest about representing the people.

“This election was never about me,” she said. “… Regardless of your affiliation, you want a hard working, accountable, transparent and available representative, and I showed the voters that is what I intend to be for them. That’s how you win in a tough district.”

The legislature reconvenes on Jan. 4.


Jesse Paul

The Colorado Sun — Desk: 720-432-2229 Jesse Paul is a political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is...