Colorado House District 26 could see Republican primary contest between Routt County residents

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— Colorado House District 26 is poised to have a primary contest between two Routt County Republicans in November 2014.

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Chuck McConnell

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Dave Moloney

Chuck McConnell, who ran for the seat in 2012, has stated he will vie to the be the GOP’s candidate in the race.

Fellow Routt County Republican Dave Moloney also has declared his candidacy for H.D. 26

Moloney followed McConnell as chairman of the Routt County Republican Party, but as of late, the two have had some differences of opinion, McConnell said Tuesday.

“The single political party government control over the past year has not represented all of the people of Colorado,” McConnell said in a news release. “Our state is a diverse mix of rural and urban, agriculture and industry. We elect state representatives from different districts across the state to serve that diversity. Having the opportunity over the past several months to visit every community in Routt and Eagle counties, I have gotten to know folks from all over the district and to hear their concerns. I will represent the culture and needs of our district.”

McConnell lost to Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, in the 2012 race, 14,637 to 18,470 votes.

The strength of President Barack Obama’s campaign was surprising in Colorado, McConnell said, and that momentum helped other Democratic candidates across the state.

Without a presidential election to spur Democratic turnout in 2014 and with two years of Mitsch Bush in the Capitol, the race will be much different, he said.

Routt County represents one-third of the population of H.D. 26 and slightly more of the registered voters in 2012.

McConnell said he worked closely with the Eagle County Republican Committee and its chairwoman, Kaye Ferry, and told her he planned to again run for the seat.

No candidate for H.D. 26 from Eagle County has filed an affidavit to run for the seat.

As of Tuesday morning, only Mitsch Bush, McConnell and Moloney had filed affidavits from any party.

An individual must file an affidavit within 10 days of becoming a candidate.

Hermacinski readies run

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Cari Hermacinski

“There’s many hurdles between here and next fall,” Cari Hermacinski said about the race for Routt County Board of Commissioners District 3.

Hermacinski, who just finished up her last term on the Steamboat Springs City Council, filed an affidavit to run for the District 3 seat but warned that it’s still early in the process.

“It’s possible I could have a challenger,” she said Tuesday.

Assuming she gets the support of the Republican party, Hermacinski said, one of the things she’d be looking forward to would be parsing Routt County’s budget.

“What I’ve been doing ever since I’ve been in government is reading budgets,” she said. “One of the things (Routt County has) acknowledged looking forward is that 2014 is going to be a really difficult year for them financially.”

Hermacinski cited sections of Routt County’s 2013 budget that highlight the financial challenges, including extending bridge and chip-and-seal life spans, a decrease in property tax collections from a projected 21 to 28 percent drop in values in 2014 and stagnant state and federal revenue.

The budget predicts shortfalls that could deplete Road and Bridge Department reserves by 2017 and county reserves by 2021.

“I’ve always looked at a variety of political offices to run for,” Hermacinski said about deciding to run for county commissioner. “When you’re on a team of three, you have the ability to make more of a difference.”

This is Hermacinski’s first run for partisan office, and she said she’s holding off doing too much prep work for a potential campaign until after the county assembly in the spring.

“This is very different,” she said. "I can tell already.”

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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