Steamboat Springs Hot Sulphur Springs rancher and Republican Randy Baumgardner cruised to another victory in House District 57 on Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Steve Ivancie with 64 percent of the vote and continuing the GOP’s long hold on the seat representing Northwest Colorado.
As results trickled in Tuesday night, Baumgardner had built strong leads in Rio Blanco, Grand and Garfield counties and hung close in Routt County, securing a victory for the House seat he first won two years ago. The district’s other two counties, Moffat and Jackson, traditionally vote strongly Republican.
With 96 percent of Garfield County reporting — the county’s western section is in House District 57 — Baumgardner had received 3,174 votes to Ivancie’s 1,041, for a 72 to 24 percent margin. With 93 percent of Grand County reporting, Baumgardner had 2,978 votes to Ivancie’s 1,469, a 65 percent to 32 percent margin.
Ivancie won in Routt County, where the counting of mail-in ballots extended late into the night. Results from early voting and all 18 of the county’s precincts showed Ivancie with 4,491 votes compared with Baumgardner’s 4,146, or 50.1 percent to 46.2 percent. Oak Creek Libertarian Mike Kien received 336 votes, or 3.7 percent, in that tally.
With all precincts reporting as of 3 a.m. today, Baumgardner won with 64 percent of the vote to Ivancie's 32 percent. That amounted to 17,829 votes for Baumgardner and 8,794 for Ivancie.
Kien had received 1,169 votes, about 4 percent.
Baumgardner said his goals for the next two years would focus on job creation.
“One of the things I said I’ll continue to work on is to try to make it where Colorado is a more job-friendly state, where we can bring businesses back to Colorado,” he said. “With the help of my colleagues and constituents, we’ll try to get Colorado headed in the right direction.”
Ivancie said he thoroughly enjoyed the campaign he entered in May.
“Not everybody gets to run for office like this. It’s a real honor, it’s a challenge, and it’s special,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience, and I have no regrets at all.”
Baumgardner, 54, defeated South Routt County resident and Democrat Todd Hagenbuch in 2008. Routt was the only county Hagenbuch carried in that election.
During his first two years at the Capitol, Baumgardner served on two House committees: transportation and energy; and agriculture, livestock and natural resources.
Baumgardner held a strong fundraising lead throughout the campaign. Ivancie said he knew from the start that he was facing an uphill battle in a strongly Republican region.
State Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, represented Routt County in the House for eight years before moving to the Senate.
Baumgardner expressed gratitude for his supporters Tuesday night.
“I thank everybody for their respect, from all three parties, the respect and the courtesy that has been afforded me,” he said. “I’ll do the best job that I can, and I’ll work for them 110 percent.”
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail email@example.com