GarCo’s voter trends similar to the rest of Colorado |

GarCo’s voter trends similar to the rest of Colorado

Heidi Rice and Sean KellyPost Independent Staff

Colorado and the United States as a whole shifted a bit to the color blue in Tuesday’ elections. Garfield County was no different.But despite the Democratic majority both nationally and locally, some politicians don’t think it will make that much difference in how things will operate in Garfield County.Frank Breslin, mayor of New Castle and a longtime Democrat, said he’s never seen a Democratic sweep like this before. But he doesn’t believe local politics are so much partisan as they are about issues.”People in this valley are pretty sensible about the issues,” Breslin said. “Nationally, this is a rejection of the ideology of the last 10 years. I think it’s people’s individuality, not party-wise, that will take us on another track, but that’s probably a coincidence that they happen to be Democrats. There’s plenty of thoughtful and caring Republicans in our valley.”Of the five contested Garfield County races, four went to Democrats. Incumbent surveyor Scott Aibner was the only Republican to win his race. The commissioner, assessor, clerk and recorder, and treasurer races all went to Democrats.Democrats Trési Houpt (commissioner) and Georgia Chamberlain (treasurer) were incumbents, while Democrat Jean Alberico won the open clerk and recorder seat, and John Gorman unseated Republican incumbent Shannon Hurst for county assessor.At the state level, Garfield County voted in favor of the gubernatorial victor, Bill Ritter, a Democrat, at a slightly higher rate than the rest of Colorado – Ritter earned 59 percent of the vote in Garfield County and 56 percent statewide. The same could be said of incumbent Democrat John Salazar (63 percent in Garfield, 61 statewide), who easily held his seat in the U.S. House, District 3. Republican State Rep. Al White was also re-elected, with Garfield County voters falling roughly in line with the voting percentage across the state.Garfield County was once thought of as dominated by Republicans, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. And, despite the gains by Democrats, they are not the dominant force, either. The biggest “party” is the block of 9,712 voters registered as unaffiliated.

Republicans boast 8,787 active voters. The Democrats have a roster of 6,196. The swing vote went the Democrats’ way at every level this election.Nationally, Democrats gained control over the House, and will possibly do the same in the Senate with 50-49 advantage and one seat still contested in Virginia.Republican Garfield County Commissioner Larry McCown said he felt the election and the Democratic victory were part of a majority vote against President Bush and the war in Iraq.”If you listen to all the talking heads, the whole election was all about the war and about Bush,” McCown said. “It was like a big tidal wave and everyone rode that wave.”At a county level, McCown said he doesn’t feel there will be a whole lot of changes with the re-election of Houpt to the commission. McCown and the third commissioner, John Martin, are both Republicans.”I don’t really know what differences we’re going to see because it’s the same three people,” McCown said.The biggest change he says might be in the county assessor’s office, where Hurst lost to Gorman.McCown, whose term ends in 2008, has said in previous interviews that he does not plan to run again for another term.

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