Election 2018LGBTQNews

Brianna Titone’s opponent concedes; Colo.’s first transgender legislator elected

Author: Mark Harden - November 11, 2018 - Updated: November 12, 2018

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Brianna Titone, then the Democratic House District 27 candidate, talks with supporters at a fundraiser featuring Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Progressive Values Small Donor Committee on Oct. 24, 2018, in Denver. Titone, who was elected to represent the Jefferson County seat, will be Colorado’s first transgender lawmaker. (Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Brianna Titone’s opponent in her race for the Colorado House of Representatives has conceded after Titone’s lead rose to 368 votes in results posted Saturday night.

Titone, an Arvada Democrat, becomes the first known transgender person to be elected to the Colorado General Assembly.

As of Saturday night, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office posted that Titone was leading Republican Vicki Pyne in the race for House District 27 by 24,833 votes to 24,465, a spread of 0.74 percentage points.

The 368-vote margin appears to put the race outside the range that would trigger a recount: 0.5 percent of the leading candidate’s vote total, or 124 votes as of Saturday.

District 27, in north Jefferson County and Arvada, is currently held by Republican Rep. Lang Sias, who bowed out of his re-election bid to join the Walker Stapleton ticket as his choice for lieutenant governor.

Pyne narrowly led in election-night partial vote totals, but the counting has continued since then. By Wednesday night, Titone was leading by nine votes, and by 12 votes on Thursday.

Titone had declared victory already, but it wasn’t until Saturday night that her opponent conceded.

The concession happened in dramatic fashion. Titone was being interviewed by Evan Kruegel of Denver TV station KDVR-Fox31 on Saturday when she received a call from Pyne.

“This is what I am waiting for,” Titone said as she ended the call.

“Pretty cool moment tonight,” Kruegel tweeted. “In the middle of my interview with @BriannaForHD27, she received the call from her competitor, conceding one of Colorado’s closest races. Titone is now Colorado’s first ever transgender legislator.”

“I was anticipating the call for a while and it just so happened she called during the interview,” Titone said in her own tweet. “Some would say bad timing; some would say it was good timing.”

In the interview, Titone credited Pyne with not making an issue of her gender identity during their race, although she said some people said “mean things” while she was campaigning door to door.

She talked to Fox31 about the significance of her win:

“While I was running to represent the district that I live in and fulfill the needs of those people, it was important to me to also represent trans people in Colorado and across the country. Being out as trans gives people carte blanche to say, ‘I discriminate against you because you’re different.’ That’s really the big distinction about being an openly trans person running for office, because I’m really putting myself out there with that vulnerability.”

The win further pads Democrats’ lead in the state House, which the party already controlled before the 2018 election, and also adds to the number of women in the Democratic caucus.

As Joey Bunch of Colorado Politics reported in a profile back in March, Titone moved to Colorado 10 years ago and has worked as a mining consultant, a substitute teacher at a Catholic Jesuit school and as a web application developer. She grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley.

She has a bachelor’s degree in physics and geology from the State University of New York at New Paltz and, starting in high school, was a volunteer firefighter. She received a master’s degree in geochemistry from Stony Brook University and worked as an environmental consultant before moving to Colorado.

In Colorado, Titone has volunteered at the Denver Botanic Gardens and is a member of NecroSearch International, a nonprofit that provides collective scientific knowledge to help law enforcement solve cases.

Titone was was a alternate state caucus delegate for Bernie Sanders’ run for president in 2016. She has been secretary/treasurer of the Jefferson County LGBTQ+ Caucus and captain at-large for the Jefferson County Democratic Party.

> CLICK HERE to watch the full Fox31 report.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.