Routt favors Dems

Numbers mostly because of city voters

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Routt County voters overwhelmingly supported Democrats in the races for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress District 3 and state senator. Much of that support came from voters in the city of Steamboat Springs.

The large Democratic showing marks a change in how the county traditionally has voted, officials from the county's Democratic and Republican parties said.

Ken Brenner, chairman of the Routt County Democratic Party, said he thinks the county will continue to see more and more residents vote Democratic.

"I'd give equal credit to the voters understanding the issues and making the right decision and the Democratic Party working hard and making sure people are informed," Brenner said about the county's strong Democratic showing.

Buck Buckland, chairman of the Routt County Republican Central Committee, said he was surprised by the support for Democratic candidates.

"(For) some of the races, I thought we really had a good chance of coming out on top, but it just didn't work out that way," Buckland said.

He said the party worked hard to campaign for its candidates in the county, and so he thought it was difficult to explain why so many residents voted Democratic in a county where 35 percent of voters are registered as Republicans and 28 percent are registered as Democrats.

One possibility, Buckland said, was that more younger voters or new voters who supported Democrats made it to the polls.

The only Republican state or national candidate with wide support in Routt County was Al White, who won the District 57 State Representative seat. Voters also supported the incumbent county commissioners -- one Republican and one Democrat.

Brenner said he thought Democrats received support countywide.

That suggests that "Routt County voters have a lot in common, philosophically, about the candidates they support. And that's a good sign," Brenner said.

But dividing votes between those cast in Steamboat Springs precincts and those cast throughout the rest of the county, it is obvious that city voters are more Democratic than those countywide.

In the presidential race, 64 percent of Steamboat Springs voters supported Sen. John Kerry, and 36 percent supported President Bush. Only 44 percent of voters in the rest of the county supported Kerry, and 56 percent supported Bush.

Countywide, voters supported the Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate and Congress seats by a more narrow margin -- 53 percent for each of the Democratic candidates compared to 47 percent for each of the Republican candidates. In Steamboat Springs, 67 percent of voters supported the Democratic candidates compared to 33 percent for Republican candidates.

And in the race for state Senate District 8, county voters split their support for Democrat Jay Fetcher and Republican incumbent Jack Taylor, while city voters gave 66 percent of their votes to Fetcher and 34 percent to Taylor.

More than 11,480 residents cast votes in the election, and about half were from early and absentee voters, so those results were not split by precinct.

Regardless of whom voters supported, everyone has a responsibility to accept those candidates who won, Buckland said.

"You do the best you can, and it comes out the way it comes out, and then you stand tall and salute and say, 'Let's get on with it,'" Buckland said.

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

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