Eagle County voters will soon receive mail ballots for June 28 primary
Ballots went out in the mail Monday
Eagle County voters looking to receive both party ballots for the June 28 primary election had until 11:59 p.m. Monday to change their party status to unaffiliated. By doing so, residents give themselves the opportunity to pick either ballot to vote — but not both.
Regina O’Brien, Eagle County’s clerk and recorder, said Monday that she’d seen a slight uptick in registered Democrats and Republicans switching to unaffiliated for the primary, but nothing out of the ordinary.
“My team that does the data entry, no one’s come to me and been like, ‘Holy cow, Regina,’” O’Brien said when asked if there was any definitive trend of party voters changing their status to vote in the other primary. “In Eagle County, our largest block of voters is unaffiliated, although you can choose a ballot preference as an unaffiliated voter. The overwhelming majority gets both ballots, but only vote one.”
If you are registered unaffiliated and try to vote both ballots, neither will count.
Republicans face more choices
The most action for Eagle County voters in this year’s primary is on the Republican ballot. And in nearly every single race at the top of the ballot, voters face a choice between at least one candidate who has pushed baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and at least one candidate who disagrees.
That’s certainly the case in the Republican primary race between Ron Hanks and Joe O’Dea. Hanks is an outspoken election denier who was at former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rally in Washington D.C. before the Capitol riot ensued. O’Dea says President Joe Biden won the race fairly, and has also said he doesn’t believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned by the United States Supreme Court.
Whichever candidate wins will face incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet — who has held the seat since 2009 — in the November general election. The last time a Republican candidate won a top-of-the-ballot race in the state was Cory Gardner, in 2014, before being ousted from his seat by former Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2020.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the conservative firebrand who voted not to certify the 2020 election results, faces a primary challenge from moderate Don Coram, a member of the Colorado Senate since 2017. The closely watched race has led to some Democrats in the district jumping to unaffiliated to try to vote out Boebert.
In the Democratic primary, three candidates from different parts of the sprawling district with very different campaign approaches, are vying for the chance to take on Boebert if Coram’s primary challenge proves unsuccessful.
Soledad Sandoval Tafoya is a community organizer and social worker from Pueblo who is the daughter of immigrants. Avon resident Alex Walker, who doesn’t live in the newly redrawn district, has captured national attention with his viral campaign video mocking Boebert that is full of turds raining from the sky and salty language such as “Colorado needs a bull, not a bulls—er.” And then there’s former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch, who said in his candidacy statement that “I am running alongside, not against, any of the other candidates who are working to see Boebert the Betrayer replaced.”
The large majority of voters in the Eagle River Valley, however, are in the 2nd Congressional District, where incumbent Democrat Joe Neguse is running unopposed in the primary, and Republican challenger Marshall Dawson is also running unopposed.
Outside of Colorado’s 3rd, arguably the most-watched primary race in the state, is the Republican primary race for secretary of state to challenge incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold.
Former Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who faces multiple indictments for alleged election equipment tampering and official misconduct, is facing former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, a moderate who has said Colorado’s elections are safe and fair. There is also Mike O’Donnell, whose campaign literature says he’s the only candidate in the race “that is free of 2020 election baggage.”
Republican voters also have a choice between Greg Lopez, the former mayor of Parker, and Heidi Ganahl, a University of Colorado regent, in the race to take on incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November. Lopez, among other things, said he would pardon Peters as governor if she’s convicted.
In the State District 26 race, Republican voters face a choice between Eagle resident Glenn Lowe III and Savannah Wolfson of Oak Creek. The two candidates faced off in a debate June 1 at the Eagle County building in Eagle.
Wolfson, when asked about the biggest issues facing the district, which now includes Rio Blanco and Moffat counties along with Eagle and Routt counties, said affordability and public safety topped her list.
Lowe cited education and the economy as his top issues, before noting that Rio Blanco and Moffat counties are being hard hit by cutbacks in the fossil fuel and agricultural industries.
For the state’s newly created Senate District 8 seat, Democrat Dylan Roberts of Avon faces no primary challenge, nor does Republican Matt Solomon of Eagle. Roberts, who has held the District 26 seat since 2017, will face Solomon, a former Eagle Town Council member, in the November general election.
As for local races in Eagle County, both Democratic and Republican voters don’t have any choices to make. Republican Brian Brandl is running unopposed on the Republican ballot to challenge incumbent Democrat Jeanne McQueeney for her county commissioner seat in November. Republican Sheriff James van Beek faces no primary challenger, nor a Democratic candidate come November. The Eagle County Republicans also aren’t running candidates for clerk and recorder, treasurer, assessor, surveyor or coroner — all seats where incumbent Democrats face no challengers.
Turnout always lower for primaries
O’Brien said high turnout from the June primary would be above 40%, based on previous elections. The county’s last coordinated general election in November drew 44% turnout, while the 2020 presidential election attracted 84% turnout.
The 2008 election had 91% turnout, followed by 94% in 2012 and 83% in 2016.
More information for voters
With ballots going out in the mail Monday, the county’s 24-hour ballot boxes also opened. Voting centers around the county open on June 20 for those who wish to fill out a ballot in-person.
If you’re planning to mail your ballot through the U.S. Postal Service, the clerk and recorder’s office recommends mailing it by June 17, since U.S. Post Offices are closed on June 20 for Juneteenth. June 20 is also the last day the clerk and recorder’s office can process ballots to be mailed. After June 20, stop into a Vote Center to be issued a ballot.
For more information on the June 28 primary election, go to EagleCounty.us/clerkandrecorder/PrimaryElectionJune28.