Steamboat Springs Incumbent state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush and former business executive and chemical engineer Chuck McConnell will square off for the right to represent Colorado House District 26 for the second time in three years this fall after McConnell prevailed over Steamboat Springs Realtor Dave Moloney in Tuesday’s Republican primary election.
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How Routt County voted in Colorado governor GOP primary
Mike Kopp: 282
Scott Gessler: 419
Tom Tancredo: 354
Bob Beauprez: 493
The district comprises Routt and Eagle counties, and McConnell took the win over Moloney with 61 percent of the vote in Routt County and 60 percent overall. McConnell unofficially out-polled Moloney 917 to 587 in Routt, and won by 1,038 to 719 in Eagle County, for a combined total of 1,955 for McConnell to 1,306 for Moloney.
Final Routt County vote tallies in all races can be found on the Routt County Clerk’s Web page.
But McConnell’s next opponent, Mitsch Bush, won the 2012 general election race with 58 percent of the vote and tallied 7,403 votes in Routt County compared to 5,228 for McConnell. Both are residents of Steamboat Springs.
Running unopposed in the Democratic primary, Mitsch Bush, a former Routt County Commissioner and sociology professor received 819 votes Tuesday night in a primary election in which Democrats had no contested races to follow.
What will McConnell do differently during this campaign? He said Tuesday night that he looks forward to debating gun control issues and educational standards initiatives like Common Core.
“My thinking is that in 2012, my Democratic opponent did not have a record in the Legislature,” McConnell said. “I also believe that particularly in 2013, Democrats in the Legislature passed a whole lot of laws that didn’t have a whole lot of thought behind them. Specifically two gun laws. One made everybody register a gun even if it was a transfer between two friends. The other was the magazine limit, which was not enforceable because there are no dates on magazines.”
Mitsch Bush, who defended her votes on gun control laws in a town hall meeting, said Tuesday night that she’s happy to run on her record.
She pointed out that in 2013 and 2014, all 13 of the bills she sponsored passed, including one that tightened up spill reporting in the oil and gas industry to protect water sources, and another that funded the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
“For me, the key thing is working across the partisan divide,” Mitsch Bush said. “That’s what I’ve really tried to do and I think I’ve been successful at it."
Moloney thanked his supporters and McConnell for a good campaign.
“What I hope is that my participation has elevated the conversation a little bit in the areas of education, taxes and our constitutional rights and freedoms,” Moloney said. “Those are the things we think are important.”
There were two instances in Routt County on Tuesday night where candidates will face each other in the fall but were running in uncontested primaries. The existence of the House District 26 race and a four-way race in the Republican gubernatorial primary may have driven higher voter turnout among registered Republicans.
Appointed Democratic District 3 County Commissioner incumbent Steve Ivancie received 786 votes. His Republican opponent in the general election, Cari Hermacinski received 1,272 votes
Appointed incumbent Republican Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn received 1,283 votes. Her Democratic opponent in the fall, Nikki Knoebel, received 744 votes.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1