Rippy takes loss in primary in stride
Though “very disappointed” by his congressional primary loss, Gregg Rippy took the setback in stride Tuesday night as he watched results come in during a campaign party at his home in West Glenwood.”There’s a lot more to life than just politics, so I count all the blessings I do have,” he said, as family, friends and campaign staff mingled, noshing on cheesecake and relaxing at the end of a hectic Republican 3rd Congressional District primary race.Rippy took 16 percent of the vote. Greg Walcher of Palisade narrowly won with 32 percent, and Matt Smith of Grand Junction was second, at 31 percent. Dan Corsentino of Pueblo took 12 percent of the vote, and Matt Aljanich of Steamboat Springs, 8 percent. Rippy spent much of Tuesday night with a cell phone in one hand and a remote control in the other, watching the results come in on the television.About 9:45 p.m., he said that lower-than-expected support in Pueblo County left him with an almost insurmountable gap to close.”We had an incredibly weak showing in Pueblo, and we don’t know why,” he said.He and his campaign staff had focused much of their efforts in Pueblo, the urban stronghold of the 3rd District.Even as Rippy was accepting the reality of his own loss, he was expressing surprise at the strong showing of fellow candidate Matt Smith. The two are good friends, both currently serving in the state House of Representatives.
“I’m happy for Matt; I’ve always had a great respect for him,” Rippy said.As for himself, “I’m very disappointed just because I continue to be the best candidate for the job,” he said.Rippy maintained during his campaign that he was best suited to represent the diverse and far-ranging 3rd District, which includes western Colorado and the Pueblo area. State House District 61, which he currently represents, is similarly diverse, stretches from Silt to Aspen to Lake City, he said. He felt that gave him the best chance of competing against John Salazar, the only candidate in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.Rippy said he did take comfort in his strong showing from voters in his district, “which shows that they think I’ve done a good job representing them. That’s very meaningful and gratifying,” he said.Looking to his future, Rippy said, “You never shut a door in politics.””I don’t know, I love looking off my deck here, too,” he said, motioning to an open door to a porch overlooking a gurgling Mitchell Creek.”Certainly my brother will be seeing a lot more of me,” he said.Gregg and John Rippy are partners in Grand River Construction.Rippy said he’d also be willing to help out Becky Rippy of New Castle, the wife of his cousin, Steve Rippy, in her race to replace him in the 61st District. She ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary and faces Democrat Kathleen Curry and Libertarian Dale Reed in November.
One thing that might interest Rippy politically would be a run for state Senate in District 8 in four years, he said. A fellow Republican, Jack Taylor of Steamboat Springs, currently holds that seat and is running for re-election this fall. If Taylor wins re-election, it would be to his last term because of term limits.Rippy is less interested in the possibility of being appointed to some kind of state job, as sometimes happens with former state lawmakers.”Those are more bureaucratic jobs and that’s not what I want to do at this point,” he said.For now, Rippy and his wife, Marilee, will be looking forward to the September wedding of their daughter, Brandy. And Rippy will look back at his campaign with no regrets, he said. He said he wouldn’t have run his campaign any differently.”I think our approach to it was absolutely right on,” he said.Doug Straw, who did writing, design and marketing for Rippy’s campaign, said the size of the district and the fact that five candidates were running made it a huge challenge.”It was just a big field, a lot of players on the field,” he said.Straw believes Republican voters passed up the most qualified candidate in that field.But he was encouraged by the feedback he got Tuesday as he campaign for Rippy in Carbondale. Even Democrats spoke positively of Rippy, Straw said.
“They did, ‘If I ever voted for a Republican I’d vote for Gregg,” he said.Others also campaigned right up to the end for Rippy, including Erin Burke and Angie Onorofskie, longtime friends of the Rippy family. Burke also recruited her mom, Judy, to help out Tuesday, and Onorofskie’s mom, Deb, also pitched in during the campaign.Neither Erin Burke nor Angie Onorofskie have a previous background in politics.”We just like Gregg,” Burke said.Rippy said he appreciates all the efforts of his supporters.”They’re great and they’ve worked so hard,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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