Routt County Republicans talk during a monthly meeting Wednesday about what they can do to better position themselves for the next election. Local Republicans lost several races Tuesday night and were disappointed to also lose the presidential race.

Photo by Scott Franz

Routt County Republicans talk during a monthly meeting Wednesday about what they can do to better position themselves for the next election. Local Republicans lost several races Tuesday night and were disappointed to also lose the presidential race.

Routt County GOP seeks comeback after losses in general election


Election 2012

Click here for coverage of this year's races and issues.


Dave Moloney

— Routt County Republican Party leaders went to bed disappointed Tuesday night after watching their party fall short of the presidency as well as lose three of four local races to the Democrats.

But when they woke up Wednesday morning, local GOPers, along with their three unsuccessful local candidates, didn’t wait long to start planning a comeback.

“If anybody’s got any guts, you should roll up your sleeves and get ready to work like hell,” Will Potter told the Routt County Republican Central Committee at its monthly meeting Wednesday. “If you don’t, get in the bread line and make out the best way you can because that’s where we’re headed, folks.”

Potter’s speech to a room of about 20 Republicans included several calls for the party to remain vocal and passionate in the wake of a disappointing election night.

Everyone in the room acknowledged the local party has some major challenges to overcome, including a growing and well-organized Democratic contingent in Routt County.

Republicans here took it on the chin Tuesday night.

Aside from state Rep. Randy Baumgardner’s decisive victory in the race for Senate District 8 — he took five of seven counties but lost in Routt and Summit — Republicans here were defeated handily in two county commissioner races and in the race for House District 26.

Reflecting on the losses at the Routt County Courthouse on Wednesday, GOP leaders said their party needs to adopt a more focused message and reach out to young voters by better explaining to them the financial burdens Republicans say they could inherit by government entitlement programs like Obamacare.

“The message that we have to stop spending money, that we have to be more fiscally responsible, did not resonate with the voters,” Routt County Republican Chairman Dave Moloney said. “And now we’ll see what comes of that over the next several years. In my estimation, it’s going to be disastrous for the country.”

Others at the meeting were quick to criticize President Barack Obama and lament that their party’s message of fiscal conservatism didn’t attract enough independent voters to prevail on Election Day.

And the candidates who didn’t succeed here in Routt County said they learned some lessons.

“When I started this process in June, I didn’t realize just how much of an endangered species Republicans are in Routt County,” Jim “Moose” Barrows said, reflecting on his unsuccessful race for the Board of Commissioners' District 1 seat. “I think there are a lot of things we need to do as a party. We need to try and separate ourselves from the far right wing of the party (that) so many people identify Republicans with.”

Amid the gloom of Tuesday's local losses, many in the room Wednesday were defiant.

“Chuck McConnell, and we cannot quit,” the unsuccessful House District 26 candidate said when roll was called at the start of the meeting.

Moloney attributed his party’s losses in local races to the area’s growing Democratic electorate and its superior get-out-the-vote efforts. He said local Democrats knocked on 2,000 doors as Election Day neared and successfully got young voters to the polls.

Both parties' path to victory here depends on turnout efforts and attracting independent voters. While final voter registration breakdowns weren’t available Wednesday, figures released as the Oct. 9 registration deadline neared showed Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters each representing about one-third of the electorate in Routt County.

Moloney and the Republicans said the next election will arrive quickly, and they voted Wednesday to form a new strategy committee to position the party for victory in 2014.

“The ground game is important, and as hard as we worked, they were more successful in getting people to the polls yesterday,” Moloney said, referring to local Democrats. “I think the election shows that Steamboat Springs in particular has moved a little bit further to the left. We have to look at how we can better formulate our message to reach independent voters and the youth vote and women voters and drive home some of these conservative principles.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email


Scott Wedel 4 years, 5 months ago

Demographics are hard to overcome. Democrats may have knocked on 2,000 doors, but the extra people that brought to the polls was far less than the margin of victory in the local races.

Local Republicans have two choices. They can position themselves slightly to the right of local Democrats even if that is well to the left of most other Republicans. Or they can become irrelevant by blaming the electorate for not being smart enough to vote for them.

As Scott Ford has said, Routt County is demographically like Boulder.

How many Republicans get elected in Boulder?

You want to reeducate SB voters to learn conservative values? How about figuring out how to apply conservative values to issues that concern local voters? Like bring back the one time conservative value of personal liberty and be out there advocating legalization of mj. Or bring back the conservative value of being a steward of the land and support environmental protections and recognize global climate change. Or learn to stay out of the lives of gays, stay out of women's health decisions and treat Hispanics as if they were US citizens which most are? Or quit trying to deny the right of people to vote?


max huppert 4 years, 5 months ago

that is what they get for no supporting Ron Paul!!! Ha Ha,


bill schurman 4 years, 5 months ago

Is it ironic or what that Randy (Cowdry) Baumgardner lost in the counties who knew him the best? He is clearly out of touch with Routt and Summit counties. And, that is especially true of Chuck McConnell. The right wing just will not cut it in Routt county. But, keep on keeping on Republicans, fine with me.


John St Pierre 4 years, 5 months ago

Did any of the GOP in State not think that the Pot issue would not affect the General Election vote???? That most likely those who wanted to legalize it would not also vote Democratic???? Thats an example of being out of touch....


Robert Dippold 4 years, 5 months ago


"Local Republicans have two choices. They can position themselves slightly to the right of local Democrats even if that is well to the left of most other Republicans. Or they can become irrelevant by blaming the electorate for not being smart enough to vote for them."

Same can be said of the national Republicans. Why is the party so far to the right? They are alienating so many people that would be Republicans including myself.


Bob Smith 4 years, 5 months ago

the problem is that people actually believe these guys. seriously - i'm not kidding. people believe them!!


Fred Duckels 4 years, 5 months ago

It seems that the biggest candy store wins and the lethargic electorate is not interested in facing tomorrows problems. Bleak outlook at best.


Robert Dippold 4 years, 5 months ago

Fred, I was watching a show tonight that said that 40-45% of people consider themselves to be moderate. Obama won the votes of 60% of these people. It would be interesting to see how many people would consider themselves to be fiscally moderate. I don't think Republicans lost the elections because of fiscal issues but because of social/religious positions. The party is too far to the right on social/religious issues to attract enough voters my opinion. Someone that is more to the left can't win the nomination and somebody too far to the right can win the general election.


Paul Brabenec 4 years, 5 months ago

You can't credibly espouse fiscal responsibility while spending hundreds of million$ on tv advertising.


mark hartless 4 years, 5 months ago

Except for the environmental thing I completely agree with Scott's initial statement. Conservatives are just too intrusive into peoples' personal lives. However, it is a fool who doesn't believe big government, brought to you by BOTH parties, is, in the end, any less intrusive. The environmental thing is a case and point: the ultimate result of environmentalism will be to intrude on peoples' personal lives like nothing in history. I can not figure out why more people can't see that.

I also agree with Fred. The electorate has gotten to the point that they vote themselves largess from the public coffers with little or no consideration for the well-being of future generations. The outlook is bleak indeed.

I completely disagree with Paul. The need for fiscal responsibility centers around the responsibility of public servants to spend other peoples money carefully. As such, there should be NO/ ZERO use of taxpayer money on pollitical campaigns. However, it has nothing to do with how people spend their own money. You have no more right to limit how much Obama or Romney spend on pollitical advertising than I have to limit how many days you are "allowed" to ski, etc.


beverly lemons 4 years, 5 months ago

I am so glad the republican party is obsolete.

Would like to see some thoughtful conservatives form a new party and banish the racist, mysogynistic, Christian dominionist, fear mongering, bible throwing, women hating, anti-science, climate raping, lying party of the KKK and Ray Comfort back in to the dark ages where it belongs.

There are not enough rich entitled white old men to vote for you, in spite of televangelists screaming that liberal votes will send one to hell. Your tactics of fear and loathing via religion just don't work. Your Haliburton and other corporate sponsorship can't buy you an election, because no one wants the party of ignorance and hate and war mongering in power.

Keep demonizing women, brown people, Muslim's, non-Christian's, scientists, mathematicians, birth control and evolution, because all it does is add more nails to your coffin. Keep on smirking in your self-righteousness and patriarchy as you become ever more irrelevant and impotent. Call everyone stupid and sinful for not giving you their vote, then watch that the door doesn't hit your fat backside on your way out.


Scott Wedel 4 years, 5 months ago

Mark, The reason that people don't see what you see as the ultimate consequence is because most people believe that common sense will prevail before the rules get too intrusive.

That you and I could agree enough upon a Republican Party worth joining that is true to its conservative roots should be a revelation to party leaders.


mark hartless 4 years, 5 months ago

Just one problem with your theory, Scott... The rules are ALREADY too intrusive.


Fred Duckels 4 years, 5 months ago

Bob, The periphial items that you mentioned are used as political tools and always surface at election time. This is like a bruhau over the fertilizer that I use on my lawn but if I don't focus on the problems at hand I won't have a lawn or house.


jerry carlton 4 years, 5 months ago

Beverly Do you have anger issues or are you just having a bad day?


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