5 things Routt County voters can take away from 2012’s general election
November 8, 2012
1. City of Steamboat Springs voters may have approved Amendment 64 by 69 percent, but Routt County wasn't in the top 10 of winning margins across Colorado.
Overall, about 63 percent of Routt County voters cast a ballot for marijuana legalization. That was good enough for the 12th-highest margin of victory among Colorado counties. San Miguel led all counties with 79 percent of voters there approving the amendment. Pitkin County followed with 75 percent. San Miguel County, where Telluride is located, has only about 7,300 residents, and its county commissioners supported Amendment 64, according to the Telluride Daily Planet. Summit, Gunnison, Eagle, Boulder, Denver, San Juan, Saguache and Gilpin counties round out the top 10.
2. The Routt County Board of Commissioners will be all Democrats. We just don't know who the last one will be.
Tim Corrigan beat Jim "Moose" Barrows for the District 1 seat, and incumbent Doug Monger held off Tina Kyprios in the District 2 race. The last piece of the three-person board will be filled by the Routt County Democratic Party, as Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush will be leaving her seat for House District 26 at the state Capitol. Reporter Tom Ross will detail the process by which Mitsch Bush’s commissioners seat will be filled in a story to publish in Saturday’s Steamboat Today.
3. Early voting heavily favored Democrats in Routt County.
Routt County has gone blue in a number of recent presidential elections: Clinton won the county in 1996, John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. This is despite Republicans leading Democrats in registered voters for many years. The majority of voters in Routt County typically register as unaffiliated. But the numbers advantage doesn't help Republicans in early voting. In the presidential election, more votes were cast in early voting for President Barack Obama than there are registered Democrats in the county, suggesting Routt County unaffiliated voters are more likely to be Democrat-leaning. In the House District 26 race, Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush almost took a majority of total ballots cast in early voting alone.
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4. Despite wins for Democrats in Routt County, state legislators from the party are rare.
The last Democratic state legislator for Routt County served in 1960. Mitsch Bush's win Tuesday owes a lot to redistricting that put Routt County in with Eagle County, providing more Democratic votes instead of diluting Routt's influence with Republican majorities in Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield and Jackson counties.
5. Campaign finance limits and Amendment 65 proved not to be a partisan issue.
Amendment 65, which seeks to direct Colorado's seven U.S. congressional delegates to press for a constitutional amendment for campaign finance reform, has dubious legal footing. Despite commanding 73 percent of votes statewide and 77 percent of votes in Routt County, the amendment largely is symbolic in nature: It cannot dictate the actions of individual legislators, and 37 other states would have to ratify any amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The amendment carried a majority of votes in every Routt County precinct. Even in rural areas of Routt County, such as precincts 1, 2, 5 and 10, which all voted for Republican candidates in other races, the amendment won over a majority of voters. For an amendment ostensibly targeted at Citizens United, a case with conservative support, its broad appeal testifies to a negative feeling among Colorado voters about the place of money in politics.