Presidential race a tie in Garfield County |

Presidential race a tie in Garfield County

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” Barack Obama got America’s votes, but he may not have won Garfield County’s votes.

Preliminary unofficial results show Obama was tied with John McCain for the presidency. Each candidate received 11,223 votes from Garfield County.

County election workers were shocked around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to realize the preliminary results showed an improbable tie between the two presidential candidates. However, it’s unlikely the final results will still show a tie in coming weeks.

County Clerk Jean Alberico said there are still 330 provisional ballots that must be counted by Nov. 18. She’s never seen a tie in a race with this many votes.

“Isn’t that amazing?” she said. “I’ve not seen a tie in a big race like this where we’ve had over 20,000 votes cast. … It just says that it’s a real interesting county.”

Chair of the county’s Republican party, Milt Blakey, was also surprised by the tie this year. He doubts the final tally will end up in a tie due to the provisional ballots.

“A tie is extremely unusual in any political race,” he said. “This is really, really unusual because of the number of votes involved.”

He said Garfield County seemed to cast more Republican votes than the rest of the state.

“I think it just speaks to the voters in this county who are more conservative and who looked at the issues laid out there and made a different choice,” he said.

Blakey said the high number of unaffiliated voters ultimately makes the difference in close races.

“Clearly there are more Republicans registered in the west end of the county than the east end,” he said. “But there’s quite a split both ways. … I think as a general proposition in Garfield County our voters look at the quality of the candidate and their positions and they vote accordingly. They don’t just vote Democratic or Republican.”

Chair of the county’s Democratic party, Ed Sands, couldn’t be immediately reached.

Garfield County has traditionally shown its Republican red at the voting booths. The county voted Republican in 18 of the past 22 presidential elections dating back to the 1920 election between Republican Warren Harding and Democrat James Cox.

The only Democratic presidential candidates to receive the majority of votes in Garfield County were Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and 1936, Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and Bill Clinton in 1992.

Garfield County voted 22 times for GOP candidates since 1876, 10 times for Democrats, and once for James Baird Weaver, who represented the Populist Party in 1892.

In Garfield County, Mark Udall beat Bob Schaffer 11,071-10,251. Third Congressional District candidate John Salazar beat Wayne Wolf 13,241 to 8,941 in the county.

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