November 9, 2006
I moved to Steamboat in June and have been working with the Routt County Democrats since July, so the victories of Diane Mitsch Bush, Mike Kerrigan and Gary Wall were especially sweet. Scott Stanford says the Routt County Republicans didn't know what hit them, but I think they did. Tuesday night, while the Smokehouse (the Democratic Headquarters) was packed with about a hundred supporters, the Old Town Tavern (the Republican Headquarters) had only about a dozen die hards. They had to know that they were seriously out-hussled this election.
Bob Beauprez was a disaster of a candidate and ran a disaster of a campaign. Scott Tipton never put a scare into John Salazar's campaign, and I admit to being surprised at the lopsidedness of Salazar's win. With non-races at the top of the ticket, a realization that the Bush administration had lied about the Iraq war, Republicans were clearly disenchanted this year (at least in Routt County) and stayed home, avoiding the three-hour lines.
Candidate quality and a strong GOTV effort (thanks to Ken Brenner, Catherine Carson and Lynn Abbott) made the difference for Routt County Democrats. Credit also has to go to Howard Dean's 50 State Project, which brought Kim Phillips to town (and Pitkin County's Mick Ireland.)
The Republicans won't be so demoralized in 2008, and we can expect better draws for their base than the abysmal Bob Beauprez, but Routt County Democrats are more energized, and organized, than ever before.