COLORADO SPRINGS — Due to redistricting after the latest census, there will be new representation in Southeast Colorado Springs, and voters in that area are paying close attention to the races, including the vote on who will represent Senate District 11.
Election results as of Wednesday morning show Tony Exum, currently a State Representative, is the Democratic party nominee for State Senate District 11, leading challenger and current Colorado Springs Councilmember Yolanda Avila by more than 700 votes in the primary election.
The Senate District has been represented by a Democrat since 2014, and the primary election will determine which new democrat will run in the general election in November. Redistricting will make the race even more competitive between the Democratic and Republican candidate.
State Representative Tony Exum said Senate District 11 is about 26% democrat voters, 24% republican voters, and 48% unaffiliated voters. Those numbers and redistricting inspired to run again for office, this time for state senator.
“I was in term-limited mode to be honest with you, and when the lines changed. I was the only city legislator inside those lines, democrat or republican,” said Representative Exum.
Meanwhile, the race for Senate District 11 was a formerly safe seat for the democratic candidate, but now that the lines have changed, and the district has gotten even bigger. The margin only leans about 2% for democrats.
“And with the low voter turnout that makes it a very, very difficult race,” said Rep. Exum.
Exum is competing with District 4 City Council member Yolanda Avila. She also chose to run after redistricting maps were finalized.
“It became an open seat and I decided to go for it, but it made it much more closer. So I have my work cut out for me,” said Avila.
The two both work and live in southeastern Colorado Springs, and hope to continue representing their community in a different capacity.
“There has been a neglect for several decades here in Southeast, and so I’ve worked really hard to improve access, whether it be infrastructure, transit, or parks,” said Avila.
For Avila, who's been serving southeast springs since 2017, she also wants to increase funding for economic development.
“I want to make sure that in this affluent city, that this neighborhood, and this district has the same access and quality of life as the other part of the city,” said Avila.
Exum said his priorities are, “helping people are living in poverty do better. making sure our kids get a great education, making sure our businesses get a fair shot here in Southeast.”
The winner between Exum and Avila will go on to face Republican Senator Dennis Hisey in the general election.
In the House District 17 race, democrats Regina English and Mischa Smith are competing against each another. The winner today will face Republican Rachel Stovall in November.
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