Routt County Republicans weigh in on commissioner, Senate District 8 |

Routt County Republicans weigh in on commissioner, Senate District 8

— One of Colorado's most heated primary races will conclude Tuesday night when Republican State Senator Jean White learns whether she has successfully fended off a challenge from Republican State Rep. Randy Baumgardner for White's seat in the statehouse.

Routt County Republicans have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to weigh in on that race as well as to decide which of three local candidates they want to face Democrat Tim Corrigan this fall for a chance to serve on Routt County's Board of Commissioners.

On the eve of the final day of primary voting, many Republicans had already cast their ballots. Clerk and Record Kay Weinland said Monday morning that her office had received about 25 percent of the nearly 9,000 ballots it mailed out for this year's primary election.

"I would think we're right on track to be where we were in 2010, which is right at 4,000" ballots, Weinland said about turnout. She expects ballots to continue to pour in up until Tuesday night's deadline.

Still, this year's turnout could be lower than the 2010 primary election, likely because of a lack of contested races among Democrats.

A breakdown of the returned ballots by political party wasn't available Monday, but Weinland said ballots this year were mailed to 4,589 Republicans and 4,236 Democrats.

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All voters can drop off their completed ballots at the Clerk and Recorder's Office in the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. The deadline to change party affiliation and request a ballot has passed, and Weinland said ballots can now be turned in only at the courthouse.

Weinland added this is the first election in which Routt County's overseas voters can cast their ballots online.

"This is way more convenient," she said. "I just remember previous elections where we had military guys out somewhere and they didn't have a fax machine or the time to get a ballot back to us."

She said the online voting method is available to the county's 37 uniformed and overseas voters.

Money race

The heated race between White and Baumgardner will end after several weeks of third-party attack ads aimed at both candidates. The candidates also have worked to distinguish themselves from one another at forums across Northwest Colorado.

The latest campaign finance reports show that White will enter the final day of voting with a significant cash advantage. The incumbent raised $55,630 through June 18, which is more than double the $21,373 raised by Baumgardner.

White has received substantial financial support from Realtor groups and those involved in the ski industry, including the CEOs of at least two Colorado ski resorts. Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Diamond donated $100 to White's campaign in January, and Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz has donated $400.

Baumgardner has received many donations from business owners and others involved in the mining and energy industry, including a $400 donation from the CEO of a propane company based in Pine.

White's list of donors can be accessed here, and Baumgardner's list can be accessed here.

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

At a glance

Republican candidates in contested primary races

Senate District 8

■ State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, Cowdrey

■ State Sen. Jean White, Hayden

Routt County Board of Commissioners

■ Jim “Moose” Barrows, businessman, South Valley

■ Brita Horn, Routt County Planning Commission member and rancher, McCoy

■ Tony Stich, retired businessman, Stagecoach

To vote

This year’s primary is being conducted by mail ballot only. All completed ballots must be dropped off at the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs by 7 p.m. Tuesday. The office opens at 7 a.m. For more information, call the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 970-870-5558.

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