County votes Democratic

Area residents support Kerry, Salazar brothers, Fetcher

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More than 11,480 residents cast their votes for the 2004 election, which represents almost 90 percent of active registered voters, or 71 percent of eligible Routt County residents.

Provisional ballots and some absentee ballots issued in Routt County remain to be counted, but likely only would affect very close races, of which there are not many, Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said.

The majority of county voters supported Democratic candidates for the presidential and statewide races, often conflicting with how the rest of the state voted.

Residents widely supported Sen. John Kerry, giving him 54 percent of the vote, compared with the 44 percent they gave to President Bush. Those numbers represent all precincts except Precinct 13.

"I think the Routt County voting constituency has clearly stated their preference," said Ken Brenner, chairman of the Routt County Democratic Party.

Brenner said he was proud of local volunteers for the Democratic Party who helped get out the vote and added that he wasn't too surprised by the large Democratic support.

In Routt County, active registered voters are divided almost equally among registered Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated voters.

Buck Buckland, chairman of the Routt County Republican Central Committee, could not be reached for comment.

In the race to replace Republican Scott McInnis in the 3rd Congressional District, Routt County voters supported Democrat John Salazar over Republican Greg Walcher. Salazar received 57 percent of the county's vote, compared with Walcher's 40 percent.

For the seat in the U.S. Senate, Routt County voters gave overwhelming support to Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, a Democrat, who beat out Republican Pete Coors in the county and the state. Ken Salazar received 58 percent of the county's vote, compared to Coors' 39 percent.

A race close to the hearts of many Routt County residents was that for a seat in the state Senate, as both candidates are local residents. Jay Fetcher, the Clark rancher and Democrat, overwhelmingly won Routt County with 57 percent of the vote, and State Sen. Jack Taylor, incumbent and Republican from Steamboat Springs, received 43 percent of the vote.

County voters also voted to re-elect Republican state Rep. Al White of Winter Park, awarding White 56 percent of the county's vote, compared with the 44 percent that Democratic challenger Sam Robinson received.

Weinland said that she was pleased with the 2004 election process and that there were no major problems.

She emphasized that 171 provisional ballots still had to be counted, along with about 30 absentee ballots that were held back and any other additional absentee ballots from overseas that are received in the next 10 days, as required by a recent court ruling.

Routt County voters voted against Amendment 34, which would reverse effects of a 2003 state law to limit the amount of money homeowners can collect in lawsuits about construction defects. Seventy-eight percent of Routt County voters were against the amendment.

An increase in the tobacco tax, which was proposed as Amendment 35, was supported by Routt County voters with 66 percent in favor of the proposal.

Amendment 36, which would have distributed Colorado's Electoral College votes based on the popular vote, instead of the current winner-takes-all system, was supported by only 43 percent of Routt County voters.

Finally, Amendment 37, which would require Colorado utility companies with more than 40,000 meters to incrementally produce more electricity from renewable sources, was supported by Routt County voters, with 56 percent voting for the proposal.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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