The Associated Press called the race about 9:25 p.m., just after Coffman spoke. At 1:20 a.m., with 76 percent of the projected vote counted, Coffman was leading with 162,208 votes, or 52 percent, to Carroll’s 133,963 votes, or 43 percent.
Nearly an hour later, Carroll took the stage to concede the race. She said the she waited so long in part because people were still waiting in line to vote in some places.
“This is tough,” she said. “This isn’t the outcome we were expecting, a lot of us. I will never regret (running) and I will not stop fighting for all the things we stood for in this campaign.”
Coffman has been here twice before — wondering, on Election Day, whether his efforts to adapt to his rapidly diversifying suburban Denver district would allow him to hold onto his congressional seat.
This time, the Republican incumbent has faced an aggressive Democratic opponent in Carroll. And the Aurora-centered 6th Congressional District, which was redrawn in 2011 to be more favorable to Democrats, again hosted one of the most competitive House races in the country.
Coffman’s margin of victory appeared slightly narrower than in 2014, when he defeated Andrew Romanoff by 9 percentage points in a year that favored Republicans.
But it was comfortable all the same.
This time, the campaign focused heavily on immigration, Obamacare, veterans’ health care and, of course, Donald Trump.
Coffman, 61, highlighted his attempts at finding common ground on immigration reform, efforts hindered by his party’s steadfast opposition to the idea. He drew on carefully cultivated ties to Aurora’s African immigrant communities and has been learning to speak Spanish to appeal to the heavy share of Latino voters in the district.
“My campaign has been run with the kind of military precision you’d expect from a Marine,” Coffman said. “And let’s just get one thing straight – when it comes to getting out the vote, Colorado Democrats are a country mile behind all of the many staff and volunteers who make up Team Coffman.”
But Carroll, 44, a former Colorado Senate president, portrayed Coffman’s efforts and views on immigration as ineffectual and, like Romanoff, drew on past comments and views that a less-conservative Coffman no longer embraces.
In the ethnically and racially diverse district, she tried to draw connections between Coffman and Trump.
Coffman, for his part, tried early to distance himself from Trump. He said last month that he didn’t know whether he would vote for president at all. And he never uttered Trump’s name Tuesday night, despite crowd members shouting Trump’s last name.
After his speech, his campaign confirmed that Coffman earlier in the day had written in Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, for president.
Carroll did not take questions after conceding, but spokesman Drew
Godinich defended the strategy of tying Coffman to Trump.
“I think when you have the record Mike Coffman has — attacks against women, attacks against immigrants, anti-science — these attacks are warranted,” he said. “I think what needs to be noted was this was a Trump wave. Ironically, the candidate who attempted to distance himself from Trump was the biggest beneficiary of Trump and his supporters.”
Also on the ballot Tuesday were Libertarian Norm Olsen and Green Party candidate Robert Lee Worthey, both polling in the single digits.