Mitsch Bush wins third House term | VailDaily.com

Mitsch Bush wins third House term

Diane Mitsch Bush

EAGLE COUNTY — Voters in Eagle and Routt counties Tuesday sent Steamboat Springs Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush to Denver for a third term representing District 26 in the Colorado House of Representatives.

In early returns, Mitsch Bush held a substantial lead over Eagle County resident Michael Cacioppo, her Republican challenger. In Eagle County, Mitsch Bush was winning with 60 percent of the vote. In Routt County, her home, Mitsch Bush earned 62 percent of the vote.

The campaign for the seat had few face-to-face meetings between the candidates, as Cacioppo objected to the format of most candidate forums held in the district.

Positive Experience

While he fell short in the race, Cacioppo said in an email that the campaign had been a positive experience.

"I thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of new friends who did not know who their state representative was," Cacioppo wrote in an email. "I will never forget the experience of working 15 or more hours per day, seven days per week, during this campaign. I will never forget the encouragement and support from many people that I did not know."

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In a phone call Tuesday evening, Cacioppo congratulated Mitsch Bush on her victory.

And, he added, "If Hillary Clinton is not elected president tonight, I will be even happier than I already am."

Campaign donations was one focus of Cacioppo's campaign. He refused to accept donations from political action committees or corporate groups.

In comparison, Mitsch Bush's campaign was funded in large part by both scores of private citizens and a broad range of political action groups, including both environmental groups and energy companies.

In the campaign's last days, Mitsch Bush said a foot injury limited her ability to walk from door to door in neighborhoods throughout the district. That left her driving from event to the event, and spending a lot of time on the phone.

Since the state keeps track of who has already voted, Mitsch Bush said her get-out-the-vote calls included a half-joking message:

"If you drop your ballot off, you won't get any more of my annoying phone calls," she said.

Transportation

Reached at a Democratic party event in Steamboat Springs, Mitsch Bush said she expected to go on a mountain-bike ride with her husband Wednesday morning. After that, she said, it's time to prepare for the 2017 legislative session.

"The absolute top priority is to work with my colleagues of both parties to find a sustainable solution to funding transportation," Mitsch Bush said.

Health Care

Of virtually equal importance is finding a way to bring down health insurance premiums for Western Slope residents, who pay some of the highest individual rates in the nation.

That work starts with a Nov. 17 meeting. Mitsch Bush said that effort will include fellow Western Slope legislators, Rep. Millie Hamner, of Summit County, and Rep. Bob Rankin, of Carbondale, as well as Sen. Kerry Donovan, of Vail.

Beyond those two overriding issues, Mitsch Bush said she hopes to look at ways to help solve a state budget that faces several billion dollars in cuts in 2017.

Then there's water.

"As always, we have to work to be sure our friends on the Front Range know where their water comes from," she said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

Colorado House of Representatives

District 26

Diane Mitsch Bush (D): 12,830

Michael Cacioppo (R): 8,469

Results are for Eagle County only as of 10:20 p.m. Tuesday.