Colorado voters on Tuesday will reshape the nine-member University of Colorado Board of Regents that governs the state’s flagship school, infusing up to four new members.
In District 1, Democrat businesswoman Wanda James was leading Republican lawyer Amy Naes 80,816 (77.4%) to 23,473 (22.5%) in early returns shortly before 8:00 p.m. — vying for the seat that represents metro Denver.
In District 4 covering eastern Colorado, early returns showed Republican former Speaker of the Colorado House Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch leading with 116,275 votes (61.9%) over Democrat Navy veteran and retired mechanic and teacher Jack Barrington of Las Animas who had 71,286 (40.1%).
In District 5 representing El Paso County, voters will decide between Republican incumbent regent Ken Montera – Gov. Jared Polis appointed him in December 2021 to fill a vacancy – and Democrat educator Ron Casados. Montera currently serves as vice chair of the Board of Regents. No results were reported shortly before 8 p.m.
In District 8, Republican historian Mark VanDriel of Greeley narrowly was leading with 72,768 votes (50.55%) over Democrat university administrator Yolanda Ortega of Westminster with 71,172 votes (49.45%) — competing for the seat that represents Adams and Weld counties.
CU regents serve staggered six-year terms. Eight of the seats correspond to Colorado’s congressional districts, including that newly created 8th district in northern Colorado. One at-large regent is elected by voters statewide.
As many as four new regents will serve on the board following Tuesday night’s election. At least a third of the governing board will be new.
That’s because two incumbent board members decided not to seek re-election: Democrat Jack Kroll of Denver and Republican Heidi Ganahl of Lone Tree, whose statewide at-large position now is assigned to represent District 8. Ganahl is running for governor. And Republican Regent Sue Sharkey of Castle Rock, representing District 4 since 2011, reached the two-term limit.
Colorado stands out as one of four states where voters elect university regents, along with Michigan, Nebraska and Nevada. The result is a sometimes fractious board that has been politically divided. For four decades until 2020, Republicans outnumbered Democrats on the board. Democrats over the past two years have held a one-seat majority.
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