Steamboat Springs Grand County businessman Al White scored a victory over Bill Haight of rural Steamboat Springs at the House District 56 Republican Assembly in Denver. However, both candidates will see their names on the primary ballot.
The two men are seeking their party's nomination to run for the 56th District seat in the state legislature during this fall's general election. The winner in the general election will replace State Rep. Jack Taylor R-Steamboat Springs, who is running for the Senate District 8 seat.
Needing 30 percent of the 84 delegates to have his named placed on the ballot for the Aug. 8 primary, Haight just made the cut with 28 delegates. White pulled in 56 delegates. Haight needed a minimum of 25 delegates to get his name put on the ballot. Failure to do so would have meant his only option would have been to petition his name onto the ballot.
The 56th District comprises Grand, Jackson, Routt, Eagle and a small portion of Garfield counties.
White called his margin of victory a "resounding mandate." Haight said he believes the real test will come when the voters go to the polls.
"After winning round one in a big way, I am fired up and ready to move on to round two," White said in a press release. He added he would have liked to have avoided a primary, but felt the results of the assembly indicated he enjoys solid support throughout the district.
Haight said he believes the delegate vote is much easier to control than the primary election, and does not think the delegate vote will prove to be reflective of how the primary vote will turn out. He acknowledged that White was more effective in courting the delegates who emerged from the county caucuses and assemblies.
Haight said he felt the White camp tried to portray its candidate as being more electable because White, 50, is younger than Haight, 66.
White said he made no attempt to discredit Haight because of his age. Rather, he believes he's more electable than Haight because he's better suited to pursue the 41 percent of the voters in the district who are not affiliated with either party.
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