Some interesting drama along with accusations of back-room dealmaking marked the elections of the Colorado state Senate’s new Democrat leadership, which now slumps just a little more heavily to the progressive left.

Denver Sen. Robert Rodriguez was elected Friday as the new majority leader and Sen. Faith Winter of Broomfield was elected assistant majority leader in a close vote, reports Ed Sealover, a Denver business writer who is now editor of the Chamber’s Sum and Substance news website.

Rodriguez beat out Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, an Arvada moderate whom Sealover writes has clashed with fellow party members over local control and regulatory issues.

Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora failed to win the assistant majority leader seat after her nomination speech in which she suggested the votes were deliberately stacked for the other team in advance of the hastily called election.

“I respect the process and believe every vote should count … and we should not be doing anything to undermine voting — consolidating, stacking, whatever you call it coming up with some prior agreements. I don’t think that’s the Democratic way,” Fields told the caucus, which was meeting in public in the Capitol’s Old Supreme Court chambers. “Voting should not be based on deals … We are Democrats, and we need a leader who will play by the rules.”

Sealover writes that Rodriquez is an outspoken advocate for labor, while PeakNation™ is already familiar with Winter’s radical progressive politics.

Winter sponsored a measure to revive a failed attempt by Gov. Polis to restrict how workers could commute, telling businesses only 25% of their employees would be permitted to drive their own vehicles to work, while also taking away free parking.

The measure also sought to impose stricter emission standards on breweries and bakeries.

Rodriguez last came across Peak’s radar when he voted against auditing the spike of 1,100 Covid nursing home deaths during the 2020 Christmas season, which was the worst nursing home death rate in the nation.

PeakNation™ will remember the faulty testing blamed for the tragedy was provided by a Polis donor that did the testing through a $90 million no-bid contract.

Rodriguez’s vote ensured Coloradans will never know what went wrong, or whether the contract should have been awarded to the company in the first place.

Rodriguez replaces Dominick Moreno, who resigned his leadership position and legislative seat to take a high-paying job as deputy chief of staff for strategy for newly elected Denver Mayor Johnston.