Unaffiliated voters helped sway Colorado’s 2018 election | PostIndependent.com

Unaffiliated voters helped sway Colorado’s 2018 election

Colorado House District 57 Rep. Bob Rankin, left, and wife Joyce Rankin track the numbers at the Republican watch party at the Hotel Colorado on Tuesday evening.

Every vote counts.

While cliché, those three words encapsulated the 2018 midterm elections, particularly in Garfield County.

Races for Congress, the governor's mansion, and numerous other closely contested seats illustrated an even divide between Democrats and Republicans in Garfield County.

Perhaps the bigger story, though, was the number of votes cast for candidates not affiliated with either of the country's two major political parties.

As of Wednesday evening, according to the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico, 24,313 ballots had been cast from a pool of 37,414 registered voters, which equates to a voter turnout of nearly 65 percent for Garfield County.

In Colorado's District 3rd Congressional District race, incumbent Republican Scott Tipton handily defeated Democratic challenger Diane Mitsch Bush by a margin of 8 percent, or 27,299 votes, according to returns reported to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.

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In Garfield County, however, Tipton defeated Bush by just 1.88 percent or 451 votes.

The CD 3 race between Tipton and Bush, in Garfield County, also garnered a combined 905 votes for Libertarian Gaylon Kent and Independent Mary M. Malarsie.

Additionally, although Democrat Jared Polis defeated Republican Walker Stapleton by 7.23 percent or 149,976 votes for the governor's mansion.

In Garfield County, the five-term Democratic U.S. Representative defeated the two-term Republican Colorado State Treasurer by just 1.31 percent which equates to 314 votes.

Other gubernatorial contenders, Unity Party candidate Bill Hammons and Libertarian Scott Helker, combined, earned 3.45 percent of the vote, which tallies out to 823 votes in Garfield County, alone.

In several other races, too, including that for Colorado Secretary of State and Attorney General, the difference in votes earned in Garfield County between the Democrat and Republican candidates was, again, trumped by the combined votes for smaller party candidates.

Ultimately, Democrat Jena Griswold unseated incumbent Republican Wayne Williams in her bid for Secretary of State. However, in Garfield County Griswold garnered 11,272 votes to Williams' 11,412. It was a difference, again, which was surpassed by combining American Constitution Party candidate Amanda Campbell and Approval Voting Party candidate Blake Huber's votes.

Without question, the seat up for grabs where a non-Democratic or Republican candidate played a significant roll in the election's outcome was that for Colorado Attorney General.

Statewide, Democrat Phil Weiser defeated Republican George Brauchler by 57,707 votes.

Libertarian candidate William F. Robinson, in the same race, beat that difference by capturing 60,473 votes.

mabennett@postindependent.com