Steamboat Springs Routt County's unaffiliated voters could play a big role in the outcome of the Republican race for the District 56 House seat in Tuesday's primary election.
The race between Bill Haight of rural Steamboat Springs and Al White of Fraser is the only contested primary among both local Democrats and Republicans here. More than 6,700 of the 15,810 people registered to vote in Routt County are unaffiliated. And each of them has the right to show up at the polls Tuesday and declare which party primary they would like to vote in.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the 2000 primary election. Unaffiliated voters may declare the party primary they wish to vote in at the polls. Voters already registered with one of the two parties must vote in their respective primaries. There are no contested races in the Democratic primary. Polling locations by precinct are as follows: 1. United Methodist Church, Eighth and Oak streets, Steamboat Springs 2. School Admin. board room, 325 7th St. 3. Courthouse Annex lobby, 136 6th St. 4. Steamboat High School, 45 Maple St. 5. The Lodge, 2700 Village DR., Steamboat 6. Timber Run, 2025 Walton Creek Rd. 7. Steamboat Community Center, 1255 Lincoln Ave. 8. Christian Heritage School, 27285 Brandon Circle 9. Clark Post Office, County Road 129 10. Steamboat Christian Center, E. U.S. 40 11. Congregational Church, 202 E. Jefferson, Hayden 12. Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave. 13. Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 W. Colfax St. 14. Phippsburg Community Center 15. Yampa Town Hall, 56 Lincoln St. 16. Toponas Community Center 17. Milner Library 18. Sewel Ranch, County Rd. 129, Slater (absentee vote) 19. Concordia Lutheran Church, 755 Concordia Lane 20. Comfort Inn, 1055 Walton Creek Road
"I don't think the voters realize how much influence they have at the primary level," Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland said.
As of mid-afternoon Friday, the last day for early voting, just 90 Republicans and 33 Democrats had turned out to cast ballots. If that turnout is indicative of voter turnout on Tuesday, Weinland said, a relatively small number of voters could swing the 56th district race locally.
There are 5,018 registered Republicans in Routt County and 3,985 Democrats.
Routt County alone won't decide the outcome of the race between White and Haight.
The two men are vying for the Republican nod to oppose Democrat Jay Fetcher in the race to replace Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, in the 56th District. In addition to Routt County, the district is composed of Grand, Jackson and Eagle counties, plus a couple of precincts in Garfield County.
A spokesman for the Eagle County Clerk's office confirmed Friday that early voting turnout there was similarly. By the end of the day on Thursday, 77 Republicans and 37 Democrats had cast ballots.
Eagle County has 16,632 registered voters. The unaffiliated voters number 6,740. There are 5,832 registered Republicans in Eagle County and 4,096 registered Democrats.
Both Eagle and Grand counties stand to attract more voters to the polls on Tuesday because, in addition to the Statehouse candidates, they have more than one contested primary for county commissioner.
While no county commissioner primary races are contested, voters here do have the chance to send a signal on their preferences in advance of the general election in November.
Candidates for Routt County commissioner in District 2, west Routt, are on the ballot, although they don't face a primary battle. Candidates John S. Shaw, a Republican, and Doug Monger, a Democrat, who will face off in the November election. Both have their names on Tuesday's primary ballot, but they are unopposed within their own parties.
Incumbent Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak is on the Republican ballot; she is unopposed within her south Routt district in both the primary and general elections.
Taylor is unopposed in his bid to get the Republican nod for the state Senate District 8 race. He will face Democrat Paul Ohri of Kremmling, who also is unopposed in the primary, and in the general election.
To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210, or e-mail email@example.com