Democrats held on to their majority in the state House of Representatives Tuesday, but face the next session without the man many predicted would be the next speaker.
Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, conceded defeat to the GOP's Laura Bradford.
Buescher, the powerful joint budget committee chairman and the man most observers expected to replace term-limited Rep. Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, as speaker in January, was losing by less than 600 votes out of more than 34,000 cast, according to a report in the Denver Post.
Democrats picked up a seat in usually-Republican Colorado Springs, with Dennis Apuan defeating Kit Roupe in District 17.
Republicans also regained the District 40 seat, which is being vacated by term-limited Rep. Debbie Stafford. Stafford was a Republican until changing her party affiliation to Democratic before the 2008 legislative session.
Cindy Acree accumulated nearly 59 percent of the vote in dispatching Karen Wilde.
The GOP also picked up the District 30 seat. Republican Kevin Priola defeated Democrat Dave Rose.
Other new faces in the House include Democrat Lois Court in District 6, Beth McCann in District 8, Joe Miklosi in District 9, Dickey Hullinghorst in District 10, Sue Schafer in District 24, Su Ryden in District 36, Sal Pace in District 46, and Edward Vigil in District 62. New representatives also include Republicans Mark Waller in District 15, Cheri Gerou in District 25, Carole Murray in District 45, Randy Baumgardner in District 57 and Scott Tipton in District 58.
The Democrats net loss was 2 seats. They will have a 38-27 majority when the 67th General Assembly convenes in January.