Romney wins Eagle County by 100 votes | VailDaily.com
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Romney wins Eagle County by 100 votes

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristen Anderson/Vail DailyPrecinct chairman Dick Gustafson, left, signs Vail resident John Siverly, right, into the Republican Caucus Tuesday at the Vail Public Library.
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EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Republican residents picked Mitt Romney, who also won the state, in a wide margin over John McCain in an Eagle County Republican straw poll Tuesday night.

The former governor of Massachusetts got 247 votes and the Arizona senator got 100 fewer. Mike Huckabee got 45 votes and Ron Paul got 32 votes In Eagle County.

The Republican caucuses were held at seven locations around the county Tuesday night. Most of Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff’s votes went to McCain, while Edwards and Basalt Republicans mostly voted for Romney.

Caucus locations also reported a high turnout, and Edwards had the most voters in the Vail Valley, with 123.

Vail had 49 voters while normally it has about 15 in a caucus, Vail resident Mike Mathias said.

Fifteen Republicans showed up in rural Burns, a 42 percent turnout, said Sandy Skiles, Burns resident and third vice chair for Eagle County Republicans.

“We were very happy with our 15 people,” Skiles said.

Delegates are not bound by residents’ votes in the caucus when they go to the state and national conventions to vote for candidates.

Even though Tuesday’s straw poll was symbolic, the votes give people an idea of what candidate everyone prefers, Mathias said.

“Even though it’s a beauty contest, everybody, I’m certain, is going to look at the votes,” he said.

Republican residents also picked delegates to go to the county assembly, where candidates for local races chosen. At the county assembly, delegates are chosen to go to the state convention and then some delegates go on to the national convention.

In Eagle-Vail, Randy Milhoan, chairman of Eagle County Republicans, read letters to Republicans written by incumbent District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and Al White, who is running for Senate District 8. Both districts include Eagle County.

“He’s going to make a really great senator,” Milhoan said about White.

Ken Brenner, a Steamboat Springs Democrat, also is running.

Malik Hasan spoke in support of his son, Muhammad Ali Hasan, a Beaver Creek Republican who is running for House District 56. Malik Hasan said he hoped his son would improve the Republican Party.

“I hope he meets that goal and that he gets your support,” Malik Hasan told residents.

Christine Scanlan, a Democrat from Dillon, is also running.

Some residents said they were confused about the caucus process and that they were just learning.

Lawrence Moss, of Eagle-Vail, walked his dog, Perro, to his first caucus in Eagle-Vail. Moss, a life-long registered Republican, always votes in primary and general elections, but volunteered to a be a delegate at the county assembly Tuesday night, he said.

“I’m interested in politics and how it influences policies,” he said.

Other people had participated in several Eagle County caucuses in the past.

Colorado is one of the few states that have a caucus system. In other states, residents do not have a say in state and national races until the primary elections.

“The election process begins right here at our caucuses,” said Susan Milhoan, who signed up to be a delegate at the county assembly. “It’s the first chance voters have to vote.”

Joan Norris, of Vail, voted for McCain.

“I just think he has the experience and the maturity,” Norris said. “He’s honest and takes strong stands.”

Connie Knight, of Vail, said she voted for Mitt Romney because he wants to pull troops out of Iraq. McCain wants to stay in Iraq longer, she said.

“He’s a military guy, so that’s primarily why I did that,” Knight said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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