Democrats hold on to Routt County
Voters lean left in nonlocal races
November 7, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The politics of Colorado, along with the rest of the nation, took a turn to the right in a few key races Tuesday, but Routt County continued to vote Democratic in nearly all of the state races.
Republican wins were the exception in two high-profile local races where party politics weren't part of the campaign: the coroner and sheriff races, where Rob Ryg and Garrett Wiggins won.
Routt County voters cast more ballots for Democrats Michael Bennet (U.S. Senate), John Salazar (3rd U.S. Congressional District), John Hickenlooper (governor), Bernie Buescher (secretary of state) and Steve Ivancie (state House District 57) than any of the candidates' opponents.
Routt County Republican Party Chairman Jack Taylor said he was happy with the turnout and most, but not all, of the results.
"There were some things I would have like to seen different, but overall, I'm very satisfied about the results," he said. "To be specific, the Buck/Bennet thing didn't turn out the way we had hoped, the way I had hoped."
Routt voters gave 56.2 percent of the vote to Bennet, and he won in 14 of the 18 Routt County precincts. But 58.8 percent of Routt voters also voted for John Salazar, who won 14 precincts and tied for one other and still lost to Republican challenger Scott Tipton.
Routt County Democratic Party spokeswoman Catherine Carson attributed the Democratic tilt to Routt County voter priorities.
"I think in Routt County the voters are very issue-oriented, and on the national and state wave, there was a lot of push (to vote) with the fear and the anger," she said. "I think we all learned very early you don't make good decisions when you're angry."
Routt County voted for Democratic candidates in 2006, as well, but often by larger margins. For example, Salazar won about 68 percent of Routt County votes that year when he cruised to an easy win. In the Senate and House District races where locals did vote Democratic, the margin wasn't enough to make a difference.
Ivancie, a Steamboat resident and the Democratic candidate for state House District 57, took Routt County with a slim margin of 50.1 percent to Randy Baumgardner's 46.2 percent, but couldn't pull through in the rest of the district. Libertarian Mike Kien took the balance of the votes. The vote was no surprise to Ivancie — he said before the election he knew how difficult it would be.
"It's been a real honor to run for this seat, and I'm looking forward to it of course coming to a conclusion and getting on with the results," he said the weekend before the election.
Carson said she was happy with the campaign despite the results.
"HD 57 … demographics are heavily, heavily skewered Republican. Steve did an excellent job getting issues out," Carson said. "I was very proud of Steve for all his hard work and for representing a portion of our population Randy did not represent very well in the past four years."
Taylor said the Republicans' wins were good, but more important, they are the first step toward the next election.
"We'll just start right now and work that much harder," he said. "It's one giant step toward the next goal of shooting for the White House in two years, and more positions in the U.S. Senate and, for that matter, in Congress, as well."