Money winners were Election Day losers
Most of the losing candidates in the Nov. 6 election for elected offices in Garfield County and state legislative districts were winners on the campaign finance front.
According to final campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State last week, four of five races decided all or in part by Garfield County voters were won by the candidates who raised and spent the least amount of money.
The only exception was newly elected Colorado House District 57 Representative-elect Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, who outspent his opponent, Democrat Jo Ann Baxter of Craig, by a near 3-to-1 margin.
Though outgoing 9th District Attorney Martin Beeson lost bid for a third term to challenger Sherry Caloia by the narrow margin of just 192 votes, he did manage to win the race for the most campaign contributions.
According to final campaign finance reports filed Dec. 6, Beeson, a Republican, took in a total of $15,089. That included $2,625 in contributions during the final reporting period, from Oct. 25 through Nov. 30. He ended the campaign with $2,779 in the bank.
Caloia, a Democrat, took in a total of $13,071 in contributions during the campaign, but only $280 during the final reporting period.
She also had $1,870 in loans, and spent $14,712, leaving a balance of $229, according to her final campaign finance report.
Beeson decided not to seek a recount in the Nov. 6 election and formally conceded the race to Caloia on Nov. 30. Caloia won the race with 17,633 votes in the three-county judicial district, or 50.27 percent, to 17,441 for Beeson, or 49.73 percent.
Because the final result was not within the margin required to trigger an automatic recount, Beeson’s campaign would have had to cover the estimated $11,831 cost to pay for the recount.
It was a similar story in the race for two Garfield County commissioner seats, where the two unsuccessful Democratic challengers both managed to raise more in campaign contributions than their incumbent Republican opponents.
In the District 2 commissioner race, Democrat Sonja Linman took in the most of any of the four candidates with a total of $32,811 in contributions. That was compared to Republican incumbent John Martin’s $24,749.
Martin won re-election to a fifth term as county commissioner, pulling 52 percent of the countywide vote to 48 percent for Linman.
Linman took in substantially more during the final reporting period, from Oct. 29 through Dec. 1, with $8,399 in contributions during that stretch to Martin’s $400. Martin finished the campaign with $1,581 in the bank, while Linman was $851 in the hole when all was said and done, according to the final campaign finance reports.
In the District 3 commissioner race, Democratic challenger Aleks Briedis took in more total contributions, $16,122, to Republican incumbent Mike Samson’s $14,884.
Briedis had the most campaign spending during the final reporting period, $5,252 to Samson’s $500. However, Samson ended up winning his bid for a second term in office with 56 percent of the vote to Briedis’ 44 percent.
Samson also ended up with a campaign balance of $296 to Briedis’ “0” balance.
In the much-higher-stakes race for the Colorado Senate District 8 seat, Democratic candidate Emily Tracy of Breckenridge had the largest war chest by far, but still lost the election to Republican Randy Baumgardner of rural Jackson County.
Tracy took in a total of $81,282 in campaign contributions to Baumgardner’s $64,362, according to the final campaign finance reports in that race.
Baumgardner won the three-way race in the seven-county senate district with 51 percent of the vote to Tracy’s 44 percent and Libertarian candidate Sacha Weis’ 5 percent.
Baumgardner also still had $10,000 in the bank at the end of the campaign, while Tracy’s campaign balance was $2,405. Weis did not report any campaign contributions or spending during the election.
Meanwhile, Rankin was the only election winner among the county and state legislative races to also win the money race.
Rankin reported total campaign contributions of $51,811 to Baxter’s $18,587, according to the final reports. Rankin won election in the three-county HD 57 with 57 percent of the vote to Baxter’s 39 percent and Libertarian candidate Dan Enright’s 4 percent.
Rankin ended the campaign with $1,276 in the bank, while Baxter had a balance of $972. Enright did not report any campaign contributions or spending.
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.