Eagle Republican Matt Solomon is unanimous pick to face Dylan Roberts for Senate seat
Solomon avoids a June primary race in race to fill open seat
Matt Solomon didn’t know quite what to expect going into last weekend’s Colorado Republican State Assembly. He came out humbled.
Solomon, a former Eagle Town Council member, was running for State Senate District 8. Fellow Republican Rich Cimino, a Grand County Commissioner, was also running for the party’s nomination.
Solomon earned 73% of the delegate vote in the first round of voting, with Cimino trailing. Assembly rules require 30% of the vote to earn a spot on the primary ballot.
Before the second round of voting, Cimino asked his delegates to support Solomon, avoiding a primary race.
“With only two candidates you expect to have a primary,” Solomon said. That showed a party mindset of presenting voters with the “best candidate for the district,” Solomon said.
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The new district is an open seat, meaning there’s no incumbent in the district. Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat currently serving as the Colorado House District 26 representative, is also running for the seat.
Eagle County Republican Party Chairwoman Kaye Ferry said avoiding a primary for a place on the November ballot is a big deal.
“That’s energy not wasted getting through another two months of this,” Ferry said.
Whether in a primary or general election race, Solomon said he plans to run the same type of campaign: positive, and focused on issues important to the district. That said, Solomon said he’ll defend his positions, and will point out where he thinks Roberts has erred as an elected official.
Outside groups often get involved in state legislative races. Those groups can’t legally coordinate with candidates. Those groups are the source of much of the mud slung in these races.
Solomon said his early statement of his campaign philosophy sends a message to outside groups.
“If they get involved, I hope they honor my feelings,” he said.
Roberts also pledged to run a “positive, issues-based, locally-focused campaign” in a text message to the Vail Daily.
There will be differences, of course. Solomon said he believes Roberts too often sides with the state party over the interests of his district.
Solomon said he believes the person who represents the new Senate district is less about party affiliation than the interests of northwestern Colorado.
“Whether you’re unaffiliated, a Democrat or Republican, those values are as clear as day,” Solomon said.
The district also has widely varying economic interests, from the gambling towns of Gilpin and Clear Creek counties, to the resorts of Eagle, Summit and Routt to the agricultural and energy industry interests of Moffat, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties.
Solomon said he’s already put about 5,000 miles on his car.
“I’m on my second oil change already; another 1,500 miles and I’ll be ready for another,” Solomon said. He added that he recently visited all 10 district counties in one day.
“If I drove an electric vehicle, I wouldn’t have made it home that day,” he said.
Colorado’s new Senate District 8 is vast and includes these counties:
Garfield (north of Interstate 70 and not including Glenwood Springs