Baumgardner, Barrows enjoy wins by wide margins in Routt

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By the numbers

2012 Routt County primary turnout

■ Overall: 30 percent (2,706 of 8,973 ballots were returned and counted)

■ Republican: 39 percent

■ Democrat: 21 percent

■ Libertarian: 6 percent

■ American Constitution Party: 8 percent

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Jean White, left, and Randy Baumgardner

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Brita Horn, left, Tony Stich and Jim "Moose" Barrows

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Routt County voting precincts

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Steamboat Springs voting precincts

— Jean White doesn’t know what she will do next.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” the Colorado state senator said Tuesday night after she learned she would not return to the Capitol next year. “I think a lot of people recognize what I have done for Northwest Colorado and for the state, and I’m sure there will be some opportunity out there for me. I still have all my friends out there.”

White, who lost in the heated primary race against state Rep. Randy Baumgardner, was defeated in all seven counties that make up Senate District 8.

News of Baumgardner’s Routt County win was the first election result to trickle into White’s watching party at the HiWay Bar in Hayden. And those results were especially painful.

According to a precinct-by-precinct analysis of Tuesday’s results, Baumgardner carried 14 of Routt’s 18 voting precincts, including the two precincts that make up White’s hometown of Hayden.

The precincts White carried all were in Steamboat Springs.

Baumgardner’s highest margin of victory came from the South Routt County precinct that encompasses Yampa and Toponas. His other big victories came from Precinct 8, home of Oak Creek, and a precinct in Steamboat that spans from Fish Creek south to Walton Creek Road.

Routt County Elections Supervisor Kim Bonner said Wednesday that 30 percent of the county’s eligible voters participated in Tuesday’s primary. Thirty-nine percent of registered Republicans and 21 percent of registered Democrats returned their ballots.

Bonner said the primary turnout this year was higher than usual.

“I’d say it was close to being our second-highest” turnout, she said noting the typical turnout for primaries in Routt County is 15 to 20 percent. “When you have local races, including one with three candidates, it’s going to drum up more interest.”

The turnout still was well below that of the past primary election in 2010.

That year’s primary featured multiple contested races on both sides of the aisle and included contests for U.S. senate and Colorado governor.

In addition to Tuesday’s race between White and Baumgardner, local Republicans also weighed in on the three-way race for Routt County Commissioner District 1.

Jim “Moose” Barrows easily defeated Brita Horn and Tony Stich in that primary race.

The longtime Routt County resident’s victory also was widespread.

Like Baumgardner, Barrows carried all but four of the county’s precincts.

Brita Horn, an early favorite in the race to succeed Nancy Stahoviak, came in second in all but one of the precincts.

The South Routt rancher and fire chief for the Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department carried the two precincts that include the towns of Oak Creek, Yampa, Phippsburg and Toponas. She also carried two precincts northwest of Steamboat.

But it was Barrows’ performance in Steamboat that helped him carry the day. He easily won all of city’s eight voting precincts, earning 55 percent of Steamboat’s 634 votes. Horn followed with 181 votes.

The results of Tuesday’s election are unofficial pending a July 5 audit of the vote.

The precinct-by-precinct results could change slightly next week because the county was not able to count 35 ballots it received. Bonner said that 22 of the ballots were unsigned or the signatures couldn’t be verified and that voters have until July 5 to sign those ballots. The remaining 13 ballots were withheld to protect the secrecy of the 22 voters who still can sign their ballots, and they will be counted next week.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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