Democrat emerges, Republicans locked in tight race for state Senate District 4

By Tom Skelley

Christina Riegel won the Democratic primary in state Senate District 4 and it appears she will face Republican Jim Smallwood - who was leading his primary by the narrowest of margins - in the November general election.

The seat is currently held by Republican Mark Scheffel, who will vacate the position at the end of the year due to term limits. District 4 includes Castle Rock, Castle Pines and Parker, among other areas of Douglas County.

The morning after Election Day, two of the three Republican contenders in the June 28 primary were separated by less than half a percentage point. One candidate, Jess Loban, was behind his two opponents by an insurmountable margin, receiving 22.4 percent of the vote.

Smallwood, of Parker, led Castle Rock banker and Army veteran Benjamin Lyng 39.04 percent to 38.58 percent - with only 69 votes separating them. Smallwood is the president of Smallwood Select Financial Corp.

"We're really confident in our margins, we're just waiting to hear the final word from the election department," Smallwood said. "We feel really good that the voters in District 4 have spoken, but we also want to be sure that every vote is counted."

Lyng said he had not given up hope.

"After ballot counting last night, we are 69 votes short of victory," he said the afternoon of June 29. "But the race has not been called as, according to our point of contact at the clerk and recorder's office, there are more than enough ballots outstanding to impact this race, and more military ballots may still come in.

"We are determining our next steps in this race, but so long as there is a path to victory, know that we will continue to fight. I've always said that a candidate that's not willing to fight for his own campaign will not fight for you at the state Capitol.

Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz said there probably won't be a recount unless one of the candidates requests one and pays for it himself.

Klotz said a "handful" of ballots will be resolved during an eight-day "cure" period, where two bipartisan election judges compare ballot signatures that may have appeared different from signatures in voters' files. He added that those ballots probably would not affect results, however.

"I would be surprised if there's a recount," Klotz said. "But you never know."

Riegel won the June 28 Democratic contest with 66 percent of the vote in her race against James Clark Huff. Riegel, a 21-year Air Force veteran, spent only $101.65 on the campaign.

"It has been the cheapest campaign that I've ever heard of," Riegel said. "I've always said the best advertising is word of mouth, so we focused on getting to know people, talking to people and social media. The young people have come out to vote this year too, so I think that really says something."