Local Republicans celebrate local, national wins
As was the case throughout Colorado and across the country, local Republicans were ecstatic with the outcome of Tuesday’s elections, especially on the national front.
Garfield County Democrats were left licking their collective wounds but also celebrating the re-election of a Democratic governor.
“We were disappointed in the governor’s race,” Garfield County Republican Chairman Dave Merritt said of the narrow victory for Gov. John Hickenlooper over Republican Bob Beauprez, which came down to a difference of less than 40,000 votes out of nearly 2 million cast.
“Otherwise, we are very pleased with the statewide and national races, and here in Garfield County,” Merritt said. “It was a good night for Republicans.”
The big win for Republicans statewide was the election of Rep. Cory Gardner over incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, part of a GOP wave that will result in Republican control of the Senate in addition to the House when Congress convenes in January.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, the Republican 3rd District congressman, also easily won re-election over Democrat Abel Tapia. And locally, incumbent Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky won re-election to a second term over Democrat Michael Sullivan.
The final outcome in the county commissioner race had Jankovsky at 10,996 votes, or 58 percent, to Sullivan’s 7,867 votes, according to final unofficial results from the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
Though happy with the outcome in the governor’s race, Garfield County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Shivley was disappointed in the turnout among Democrats in the midterm election, both locally and nationally.
In Garfield County, out of 19,392 ballots accepted, 7,366 came from registered Republicans, 5,088 were from registered Democrats, and 6,719 were cast by unaffiliated voters, according to county election officials.
The county had a 69 percent turnout among registered voters, which Shivley also said he was happy to see.
“It’s always an uphill battle for Democrats to get out the vote,” he said. “We work hard to put our case out there, and get people to vote for our candidates. But if people don’t know enough about a particular candidate, they don’t always vote a straight ticket.”
Nationally, Shivley said he wasn’t surprised by the success of Republican candidates.
“I was a history major and am still a history buff, and looking back they always talk about the six-year itch,” he said of Democratic President Barack Obama’s sixth year in office.
“To me, it’s obvious that’s what was going on this year,” he said. “It was the perfect storm, with the dissatisfaction for Obama, plus Ebola, the Middle East … all those factors weigh on people’s minds.”
Merritt agreed there was a “general dissatisfaction with how things are going.”
“The economy has been stalled for the last six years, with people falling out of the workforce and not being counted as unemployed any longer,” Merritt said. “A lot of what’s happening right here around the valley is indicative of that.”
He said the re-elected and newly elected Republicans now have “a responsibility to accept the responsibility” and to “meet the challenge.”
Still to be determined with ballots still being counted in some Front Range counties Wednesday was the balance of power in the Colorado General Assembly, where Republicans were hoping to take control of one or both chambers.
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