For the first time in many years, Summit will be represented by a Republican in the State Senate
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Summit County and Colorado voters Tuesday helped propel President Barack Obama to a second term in office in a race that wasn’t nearly as close as many pundits and GOP operatives wanted it to be.
Obama beat Romney by 5 percentage points statewide, piling up a margin of more than 100,000 votes and helping the president cruise to a big electoral college win and contributing to the president’s margin of about 2 million votes nationally.
In Summit County, candidate Mitt Romney shaved about 5 points of Obama’s 65 percent win in 2008, but the president still easily carried the county, as independents — about one third of the electorate — overwhelmingly voted for Obama.
- Obama (D) – 9,169 (60.9 percent)
- Romney (R) – 5,495 (36.5 percent)
- Johnson (L) - 255 (1.6 percent)
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis also garnered a big majority, beating Republican contender Kevin Lundberg by more than 20 percentage points in the race for U.S. House District 2.
In the contest for State Senate District 8, Breckenridge resident Emily Tracy won 56.8 percent of the vote, but that wasn’t enough to carry Tracy to a win in the new district, which includes conservative rural areas north of Summit County.
Republican Randy Baumgardner took the senate seat with 51.1 percent of the vote, which means Summit County will represented in the Senate by a Republican for the first time in many years.
Tracy won Summit and Routt counties, but couldn’t overcome Baumgardner’s huge margins in Rio Blanco, Moffat and Jackson counties, where Baumgardner won between 70 and 80 percent of the vote. The battle was a little more even in Grand and Garfield counties, where Baumgardner won 54 and 52 percent of the vote, respectively. In the end, Baumgardner won the election by just more than 4,000 votes, 33,508 to 29,099.
In the race for State House District 61, Rep. Millie Hamner held on to her seat, winning 47 percent of the vote in a three-way race that featured unaffiliated candidate Kathleen Curry garnering 13.5 percent of the vote, while Summit County Republican Sandra Irvine ran well behind other GOP spots on the ticket, with just 34.4 percent.
The newly configured district also includes a mix of “New West” exurban counties and more traditional GOP strongholds like Gunnison and Delta counties.
Curry won a full 40 percent of the vote in Gunnison County, while Irvine took 55.8 percent of the vote in Delta County.
Hamner easily won Summit, Pitkin and Lake counties.
Democratic County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier also withstood a challenge by GOP candidate Kevin Mastin, who ran on a pro-business platform. Stiegelmeier easily held on to her seat, winning with 59 percent of the vote.
Summit County also bucked a recent trend of supporting homegrown GOP law enforcement candidates by helping Clear Creek Democract Bruce Brown win the District Attorney race. In Summit, Brown won by 53.4 percent over Republican candidate Scott Turner (46.5 percent).
Brown won all four counties (Clear Creek, Summit, Eagle, Lake) with more than 50 percent of the vote.
Statewide, Colorado voters also approved the legalization of marijuana for personal use, campaign finance limits and reform of the state employee hiring system.