GOP candidates turn attention to June primary
Colorado’s top Republicans were in Denver on Friday and Saturday vying for district and state delegate support and a chance to appear on the June 26 primary ballot.
With five Northwest Colorado Republicans running for offices tied to Moffat County, the belief going into Friday’s multi-county district assemblies at the Colorado Convention Center was that each candidate would get their names on the June ballot.
However, there were some surprises.
Perhaps the biggest occurred in the race for Colorado House District 57 between Ron Roesener, of Parachute, and Bob Rankin, of Glenwood Springs.
HD 57 encompasses Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Jackson, Grand and Garfield counties.
This year, 104 delegates participated in the assembly, and as with county assemblies, Roesener and Rankin each needed to garner the support of at least 30 percent of the delegation to appear on the June ballot.
Rankin achieved that goal, and then some, earning 86 votes.
Roesener received 16, with two delegates not voting. His campaign is now over.
“For someone who just got his butt kicked, I’m doing OK,” Roesener said Saturday. “People thought I would be really, really upset, but I’ve been through much tougher stuff than this. This is just a political race.”
Roesener said he and Rankin had a “nice” discussion after the votes were tallied in which each candidate congratulated the other on running a positive campaign.
Democrats in HD57 don’t believe they have the numbers to run a candidate against a Republican and win, Roesener said, which leaves Rankin with an open road to the state legislature.
“I don’t have anything against Bob, but I never got the sense he was in this race for the right reasons,” Roesener said. “I could tell he was genuinely humbled by the outpouring of support he received.
“I hope he carries that with him and understands what he is going to Denver to do because the Western Slope needs a fighter down there.”
As for Roesener’s next political move, he said he’s going to take things day by day.
“My wife doesn’t want me going anywhere near politics again, but it’s in my blood,” Roesener said. “I’m not ready to jump into something right this second, but who knows what opportunities may present themselves in the future.”
Shortly after Roesener learned his political fate, incumbent Colorado District 8 State Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, and current HD57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, pitched 180 delegates for support in their bids for the SD8 seat.
SD8 encompasses Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Jackson, Garfield and Eagle counties.
The magic number was 54.
Baumgardner received 119 votes and will be featured in the top position on the June ballot.
White acquired 60 votes and will also advance to the primary.
One delegate abstained from voting.
“I never expected that to happen,” Baumgardner said. “I knew we would both get on (the ballot), but I thought it would have been more equal.
“It’s very humbling that many people feel that way about me.”
The third race connected to Moffat County is for 14th Judicial District Attorney.
Brett Barkey, of Hayden, is the only candidate in the campaign, Republican or otherwise.
With no opponent, Barkey was designated to the June ballot by acclimation, or a voice vote.
“It’s a great privilege to be nominated and I’m looking forward to continuing to get out and meet people,” Barkey said. “Now I’m just looking forward to the general election.”
Rep. Scott Tipton, incumbent Republican for the Third Congressional District of Colorado, was not challenged by an in-party rival and was also designated to the June primary by acclimation.
Unlike his Northwest Colorado counterparts vying for district and state offices, Tipton is in the midst of a contested race and faces two opponents in his bid for reelection in November — Democrat Sal Pace and Independent Tisha Casida, both of Pueblo.
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Next week, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County are hosting a free day-long seminar for local ranchers and agriculture producers.