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Colorado Governor

Filing Deadline: June 5
Primary: August 11
Primary Results

Nov. 4, 1998 — State Treasurer Bill Owens became Colorado's first Republican governor since 1970, defeating Democratic Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Owens won 49 percent – a margin of fewer than 5,000 votes – and Schoettler won 49 percent.

Debates: Schoettler introduced her health care proposal at the Oct. 2 debate and attacked Owens at the Oct. 17 debate, accusing him of being under the influence of the oil industry. Both candidates pushed their tax overhaul proposals.

Advertising: Television played a fairly low-key role in both candidates' campaigns. Owens blasted Schoettler over the airwaves for supporting tax increases, while Schoettler aired more accusations about Owens's connection to the oil and gas lobby. A late October Owens ad focused on why his "new" vision was better for Colorado than Schoettler's "old" one.

Fund-raising: Owens had nearly $585,000 on hand at the end of September, compared to Schoettler's $254,000. Schoettler boosted her bid with personal money in the final months of the race, giving $5,587 to her treasury in September. Both candidates pledged to spend no more than $2 million in this race. Under a new finance law, the November ballot will flag candidates who do not pledge to hold their spending to the $2 million limit.

Polls: A Denver Post/9News/KOA Radio tracking poll that ended Oct. 27 showed Owens expanding his lead to six points – 46 percent to Schoettler's 40 percent – outside the survey's 4.4 percent margin of error. Another poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research in late October showed Owens leading Schoettler, 44 percent to 39 percent, with a 3.5 percent margin of error. Both surveys, however, showed a substantial number of undecided voters: 14 percent in the tracking poll, and 17 percent in the Mason-Dixon poll.

— Ryan Thornburg,

Ryan Thornburg can be reached at

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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