Steamboat Springs Randy Baumgardner soundly defeated Dan Korkowski in a Republican Party primary election Tuesday and now faces Phippsburg Democrat Todd Hagenbuch for the House District 57 seat in the state Legislature.
The race was the only contested one in Routt County, where Baumgardner garnered 384 votes to Korkowski's 167. Across the district, Baumgardner took 2,297 votes to Korkowski's 1,121, according to the Rocky Mountain News.
Baumgardner took Moffat and Garfield counties with the same authority as Routt, winning 350-139 and 192-71, respectively. House District 57 covers Routt, Moffat, Grand, Garfield, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties.
Hagenbuch was ready to consider Baumgardner the victor Tuesday night and said he is looking forward to campaigning against him in the run-up to the November general election.
"It does feel good to have one person to focus on," Hagenbuch said. "It's a little bit difficult to campaign when you don't know who you're campaigning against."
Hagenbuch said he looks forward to articulating differences between himself and Baumgardner, and he immediately claimed to be the more moderate politician of the two.
"I'm looking forward to meeting with a number of Mr. Korkowski's supporters," Hagenbuch said. "I think he was more moderate in his approach than Mr. Baumgardner. I think they have a good opportunity to get on board with my campaign."
But Korkowski scoffed at this idea and said his supporters certainly would fall in line with Baumgardner.
"Randy and I aren't very far apart on anything," Korkowski said.
Baumgardner is a Hot Sulphur Springs rancher with a law enforcement background. Baumgardner has listed water rights, civil liberties, the state's mountain pine beetle epidemic, exploration and production of oil and gas at home, education and private property rights as his key issues for House District 57. He was not prepared Tuesday to discuss how his views differ from Hagenbuch's.
"Todd and I have not spent a great deal of time talking," Baumgardner said. "I don't know his platform. I've been spending most of my time running against Dan."
Hagenbuch is a Phippsburg rancher and former executive director of Historic Routt County. At an announcement of his candidacy in March, Hagenbuch said specific issues he would tackle in the state Legislature include planning for the "next forest" because of the substantial loss of trees killed by bark beetles, protecting surface owners' property rights from oil and gas development and making health care more affordable for Coloradans.
House District 57 has not been kind to Democrats this decade. After first being elected in 2000, state Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, won the past three campaigns for the district. In November 2006, he won a strong victory against Democratic challenger Andy Gold of Tabernash, despite an election that saw widespread victories for Democrats across the county, state and nation. White is term-limited in the House and will run for the state Senate District 8 seat against Steamboat Springs Democrat Ken Brenner.