Ricks Ronquillo

Naquetta Ricks (L) and John Ronquillo, who are vying for the Democratic primary in House District 40, Aurora.

Update: a 5 p.m. update from the Secretary of State shows that Ricks' lead is now up to 274 votes.

The closest race from Primary Night 2020 just got a lot closer.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, John Ronquillo, running in the Democratic primary in House District 40, Aurora, had a 47-vote lead.

Minutes ago, around noon on Wednesday, Arapahoe County updated its election results for the first time since last night, and Naquetta Ricks now has taken a 76-vote lead.

The winner goes on to face Republican Richard Bassett in November.

This is considered a safe Democratic seat, currently held by Rep. Janet Buckner, who's running for the state Senate to succeed term-limited Sen. Nancy Todd.

Voter turnout Tuesday night favors the Democrats, with 12,486 votes cast versus 5,527 for Bassett.

Ronquillo holds a 2:1 advantage in fundraising, with $21,870 raised. He's backed by the Democratic establishment, with donations from unions representing teachers and communications workers, and from a number of Democratic House lawmakers, including House Majority Leader Alec Garnett of Denver, Reps. Adrienne Benavidez of Denver, Edie Hooton of Boulder, Meg Froehlich of Greenwood Village, Steven Woodrow of Denver, Kerry Tipper of Lakewood and Dylan Roberts of Eagle.  He's also supported by independent expenditure committees that have poured at least $100,000 into backing his candidacy.

Ricks has raised $10,956 and loaned her campaign another $1,000. Though she generated support from unions for her run for CU Regent a couple of years ago, they've stayed away this time. Her donors include former Democratic Rep. Joe Rice and former Denver City Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth.

Buckner has not endorsed either, and has given money to both campaigns.

Ricks could not be reached for comment.

Ronquillo said last night that he believed the race was “too close for comfort,” although he believed he would hold the lead. 

“But we will ride it out and make sure every vote is counted,” Ronquillo said.

Ronquillo added that while he thinks he is going to pull through, if he is overtaken in votes he will be happy to support his opponent.

Arapahoe County intends to update its election results later in the day.

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