Democrats make a bid for GOP-dominated SD 8 |

Democrats make a bid for GOP-dominated SD 8

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Emily Tracy

Breckenridge Democrat Emily Tracy jumped in to the state Senate District 8 race this week, in an attempt to help her party regain the GOP-controlled seat.

The newcomer faces an uphill battle over the next several months. Tracy will face one of two sitting Republican state legislators – Rep. Randy Baumgardner and Sen. Jean White – in November for a district that lists to the right.

The newly drawn SD 8 is distinctly red, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats by more than 10,000 votes districtwide.

Of the voters in the new SD 8, nearly 35 percent are registered Republicans. More than 24 percent are declared Democrats and 40 percent are unaffiliated.

The new Senate District 8 includes Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Garfield and Summit counties.

Tracy said she put off the decision to run, waiting for another Democrat elsewhere in the district to step up. She believes, even in a GOP-dominated district, she has a fighting chance.

“I have a core belief that no one, regardless of party, should just be handed a seat in the Legislature,” Tracy said. “It’s definitely a challenge for a Democrat, but I think we are all motivated to work hard and win the seat this year.”

Tracy served as a member of the Canon City City Council in the 1980s and ’90s and ran unsuccessfully for the state Legislature in 2002 and 2004.

She is currently a member of the Summit County countywide planning commission and has a background in child welfare and post-adoption support. She emphasized the importance of Western Slope voices at the Capitol and indicated an interest in revising the Taxpayer Bill of Rights if elected.

Tracy will face either current state Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Jackson County, or incumbent SD 8 Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, who took over the seat from her husband in 2010 when he was appointed to lead the state tourism office.

Assuming neither gives up their bid for office following the party assembly April 13, White and Baumgardner will face off for the Republican nomination in the primary election on June 26.

Both Baumgardner and White said they didn’t expect a GOP primary to split the district’s Republican vote in the general election.

“I believe whoever comes out of the primary will be supported by the Republican Party,” Baumgardner said.

Baumgardner worked for the Colorado Department of Transportation for more than a decade and has represented House District 57 for the last four years. He announced his bid for the Senate District 8 seat in December after he was drawn out of his current house district in the reapportionment process. He said he identifies with the majority of the district’s constituents and understands relevant regional issues such as water usage, farming and ranching and mineral extraction.

White, an opponent of big government who calls for the separation of business and state, has lived in northwest Colorado for nearly 40 years. She and her husband owned a ski-industry business for 25 years.

“I know what it means to run a business and create jobs,” White said.

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