State House race only one on primary ballot |

State House race only one on primary ballot

Mike McKibbinRifle CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – There’s only one race to be decided in Colorado’s Aug. 12 primary election in Garfield County, but that hasn’t deterred voters from wanting to participate, according to county Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico.Early voting runs from Aug. 4-8, but around 1,400 absentee ballots had been sent out to county voters as of July 25, Alberico said. An average of 400 to 500 are usually sent out for a primary election, she said. State law requires ballots to be sent to registered voters who make that request, even if no contested races are present, Alberico said.While no local or state Democratic races will be decided in the primary election, the Republican ticket features two Grand County candidates vying for a chance at the Colorado House District 57 seat to be vacated by state Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, who is running for state Senate in District 8. Both districts include Western Garfield County.Daniel Korkowski and Randy Baumgardner will face each other on the GOP ballot, with the winner going against Democratic candidate Robert Hagenbuch of Phippsburg in the November general election.Korkowski, 53, of Grand Lake, said he has visited this part of the House district about nine times. Energy development is always the top issue, he said.”I believe we need all the domestic energy sources we can use,” Korkowski said. “That includes coal, gas, oil, nuclear, geothermal, hydroelectric and renewables.”He said gas companies can drill in an economically and environmentally sensitive way, and he favors allowing that to occur on places like Vermillion Basin in Moffat County and on the Roan Plateau west of Rifle.”I’m not saying just open the barn doors,” Korkowski said. “But there is a responsible way to do it.”Korkowski’s opponent, Randy Baumgardner, 51, of Hot Sulphur Springs, said he has been in this part of the district up to four times a month. Like his opponent, gas drilling is the hot button issue he hears from voters.”We should continue to have oil and gas exploration here at home and not abroad,” Baumgardner said. “I’m not opposed to alternative energy, and if someone comes up with something that works well, that’s fine and dandy.”Baumgardner said he favors drilling on top of the Roan Plateau and the Vermillion Basin.”I’ve visited unannounced at several of these drilling sites, and I’ve not been on one that wasn’t doing all they could to protect the environment,” he said. “Accidents happen from time to time, but if they clean it up and get it back to the way it was, they should be allowed to continue on.”We only have one planet, and we need to take care of what we’ve got,” Baumgardner said. “But we’re in an energy crisis, so we need to take care of ourselves at home, too.”Baumgardner is a rancher and highway maintenance worker for the Colorado Department of Transportation for more than 10 years. He was also a police officer for five years.Korkowski is the code enforcement officer for Grand Lake and was also a cop for more than 17 years.Contact Mike McKibbin:

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