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Eagle County feels the Bern

Precinct 20 of the Eagle County Democratic Party participates in a straw poll between presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at the caucus in Edwards on Tuesday. Precincts were also charged with electing delegates to the County Assembly, which is scheduled for March 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Battle Mountain High School.
Townsend Bessent | Townsend@vaildaily.com |

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

Sanders: 623

Clinton: 344

Undecided: 11

EDWARDS — You know it’s a ski town caucus when it begins with the ringing of a cowbell.

Democrat voters gathered in standing-room-only crowds across the county on Tuesday to express support for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In the end, the party recorded 623 votes in favor of Sanders, 344 in favor of Clinton and 11 undecided. The results were still unofficial as of late Tuesday evening.

“It’s always a messy debate,” Eagle Country Democrat party chair Jane Lowery told caucusers in Edwards.



Lowery said she had spent time vacillating between the two candidates before settling on Clinton, calling her the most experienced candidate the Democrats have ever had.

“I love Bernie, but I think it’s time for a woman president,” she said. “And I shouldn’t say this, but I’d like to have Bill back too.”



John Sterns, of Edwards, said he preferred Sanders.

“I think that Bernie is sending messages to people that we need to hear,” he said. “I’m very impressed with the consistency with which he speaks.”

‘STRATEGIC PLAN IN PLACE’



Presidential candidates aside, the evening was also an opportunity for local representatives running for re-election to get their message across.

Saying he was cracking down on hash oil making operations, District Attorney Bruce Brown told voters the county was headed in the right direction in terms of prosecuting criminals, but it needs to stay vigilant.

“We don’t want the oil boom of 2016 to be a hash oil boom,” he said of the home labs’ tendency to explode.

County Commissioner Jill Ryan told voters if re-elected, her priorities would include economic development, environmental sustainability, affordable health care, workforce housing and child care, upgrades to roadways, open space and trails, and accountable government. Ryan is one of three Eagle County commissioners, all are Democrats.

“(Kathy Chandler-Henry) and I have been working on the same issues for three years, now with Jeanne McQueeney we have a strategic plan in place,” she said.

CAUCUS VS. PRIMARY

Ryan said as she made her rounds throughout the county on Tuesday, she heard a lot of confusion expressed over the caucus format.

Paul Krasnow, of Edwards, asked what it would take for the state to switch from a caucus to a primary system.

“We can talk about it, as a party,” Ryan told Krasnow.

“It’s really amazing how confusing the system is,” Ryan said after the meeting. “Can anybody just walk in? Then what happens? Do I have to be a delegate? I’ve heard that a lot. … I’ve run these before and it’s still very confusing.”


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