Republican senate, congressional races main attraction for June 28 primary election | SteamboatToday.com

Republican senate, congressional races main attraction for June 28 primary election

Senate, congressional races are 'primary' attraction

Registered voters in Routt County who want to switch party affiliation in time for the June 28 primary election have until May 27 to do so in the County Clerk's office at the Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat Springs. Registered unaffiliated voters who want to affiliate for the primary can do that now at govotecolorado.com, or can do so as late as election day at the courthouse.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect that the last day for registered voters to change their affiliation is not Friday, May 27 but Tuesday, May 31.

Registered voters in Routt County who wish to change their party affiliation in time for the June 28 election have until May 31 to do so at the Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave., in Steamboat Springs.

However, it's a different story for registered, unaffiliated voters, who can wait as late as election day to declare their affiliation as either a Republican or Democrat, according to County Clerk Kim Bonner.

In the case of Colorado's 2016 primary election, there might be more motivation for a Routt County Democrat to change affiliation to Republican than vice versa.

Bonner confirmed there are no contested primary races on the Democratic ballot, while there are several contested races at the state level on the Republican primary ballot, including in the 3rd Congressional District, where political newcomer Alex Beinstein is challenging three-term incumbent Scott Tipton.

Beinstein, a 27-year-old Carbondale resident who earned a law degree from the University of Maine, forced the primary race by collecting 40.3 percent of the delegates at the Republican State Convention in April.

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Tipton has largely ignored his primary opponent, focusing instead on his Democratic challenger in the November election, former state Sen. Gail Schwartz, of Crested Butte.

Beinstein said May 25 that 42 days had passed since his campaign initially reached out to Tipton's campaign to arrange a debate, an effort that has yet to yield results. He said his sense is that Tipton's unwillingness to debate has worked in his (Beinstein's) favor, adding that, should Tipton prevail in the primary election, he would not support him.

There is also a lively race to determine which Republican candidate will earn the right to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in the November election. They include El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who was nominated by his party's state convention with 70 percent of the delegates, and four more candidates who petitioned their way onto the ballot: Ryan L. Frazier, Robert Blaha, Jack Graham and Jon Keyser.

There is also a contested Republican primary race for the State Board of Education.

Eligible people who are not registered to vote may do so as late as election day, June 28, as long as they have lived in Routt County for 22 days. Unregistered people may also register online at govotecolorado.com or at the Routt County Clerk's office. Voters who affiliated or changed affiliation for the primary may choose to reverse that step as soon as June 29, also at govotecolorado.

Ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters June 6.

Beinstein advocates for local government

Beinstein, who spoke to the Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots, characterized Tipton as a "placeholder for a lobbying firm" and an example of "crony capitalism."

He added this week that, in general, he is for local control of public education and energy policy.

"I do believe in the principal that the more local government is, the better off things are," Beinstein said. "It's more accountable and efficient," that way.

However, he does support the provisions of the Colorado school finance law that provide for property tax revenues collected in affluent school districts being redistributed to support public education in less affluent districts.

And Beinstein, who said he learned a great deal from employment as a service worker in a luxury Aspen hotel, is in favor of increasing the minimum wage.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1