Steamboat Springs State Rep. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, piled up 134 delegates to just 24 for Jim "Moose" Barrows on at the Senate District 8 Republican Assembly in Denver. The delegate count left Barrows well short of the 30 percent he needed to have his named placed on the Aug. 8 primary ballot, and out of the race.
"It wasn't a good day for me," Barrows acknowledged.
Taylor said he felt it was his experience that differentiated him from Barrows. The latter is a businessman and active Republican, but Taylor, as a veteran of the state House, is the chairman of two legislative committees. Taylor said he thinks that same experience level will stand him well in the general election against Democratic candidate Paul Ohri. Ohri was unopposed at his party's assembly last week and received the unanimous endorsement of the assembly.
"I'm very confident experience counts," Taylor said. He added that he will now concentrate on the general election and Ohri.
Taylor pointed to his chairmanship of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee as well as the Legislative Audit Committee as factors in his favor. He also serves on the Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources committees, the Colorado Tourism Board, and a "special water committee," Taylor said.
He said it was difficult to meet every delegate in seven-county District 8 in the weeks leading up to the state assembly, but he sent out a series of three letters to each of them, followed by a hand-delivered letter at the assembly.
"I placed the fourth letter on their chairs, at the assembly," Taylor said. "It talked about the aspect of the job that gives me the most satisfaction that's helping people."
Asked if he thought Barrows' candidacy had served to bring out some of the issues, Taylor said: "I'm not so sure we got down to issues at this level it tunes you up though."
Taylor said he would continue to work with Gov. Bill Owens to cut taxes.
Barrows said he felt the assembly helped inform District 8 Republicans about his concerns for air transportation and tourism/ski industry issues.
"They know I'm there, they heard me and talked about it. They know I'm not going anywhere. I think we got a lot done," Barrows said.
Asked if he would work for Taylor's candidacy, Barrows replied, "I will support him."
Ohri served as a Grand County Commissioner for 12 years until last year. Prior to that, he was a school board member.
He also works closely on water issues at the state level. He is a registered land surveyor and licensed real estate broker who has lived in Kremmling for 29 years.
Ohri is on record saying the state Democratic Party has identified the race for Senate District 8 as one that is winnable and one that could help begin to shift the balance in the State Senate. He described himself as being more friendly toward control of local issues at the local level than is Taylor. He also identified growth-related issues, rural health care, housing and transportation as among the top concern in the district.
"When the discussion arises, we'll be discussing Jack's prior legislative history on those issues," Ohri said Monday.
The district encompasses Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Eagle, Jackson and Grand counties.
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