Republican Erik Hansen, re-elected as an Adams County commissioner, says the GOP’s strong showing in November "means the Democrats can’t

Republican Erik Hansen, re-elected as an Adams County commissioner, says the GOP’s strong showing in November “means the Democrats can’t count on Adams County anymore.” (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

As results rolled in on election night, a disheartened Steve O’Dorisio stared at the TV screen: He trailed in his Adams County commissioner’s race, and some fellow Democrats were in trouble, too.

“You had some people who said, ‘We lost it all,’ ” the former prosector said. “And you had others who said, ‘We’re all going to win, just wait for things to come in.’ ”

After all, Adams County Democrats outnumber Adams County Republicans by more than 20,000 voters.

In his first political bid, O’Dorisio was losing to his Republican challenger by 1,755 votes as election night ended. The next three days, O’Dorisio admitted, “were kind of a blur” until he finally pulled ahead.

He went on to win his commission race by nearly 600 votes, but it was Adams County Republicans who did most of the cheering, scoring more wins than any time since 1936 despite the Democrats’ voter-registration advantage.

Republicans won seats for sheriff, clerk, assessor and treasurer. Adams County next year will have a Republican in the state Senate for the first time since 1992. A Democratic state representative lost her seat.

“The sweep, it just blew me away,” said former Adams County Commissioner Marty Flaum, a Republican.

The election featured a kaleidoscope of factors favorable to Republicans, starting with a national climate that revved up the GOP. Mix in a changing county, a Republican ground game and publicity over local Democratic scandals — and the results stunned both parties.