Voters make their primary picks Tuesday |

Voters make their primary picks Tuesday

A sign outside of the Eagle County Voter Service Center in Avon announces the opening of the polls for the county's primary races. Higher-than-average turnout rates are expected due to competitive local primaries for both parties.
Eleanor Nesbit | |

EAGLE COUNTY — The political party faithful (and a few opportunists) will go the polls for Tuesday’s primaries.

The winners will target the November general election, while the losers will promise undying support.

Teak Simonton, Eagle County’s clerk and recorder, and her staff will tabulate the vote — as they always do — and expect higher-than-normal turnout. Local primary races are the reason — Democrats battling for a spot in November’s Board of Commissioners race and Republicans vying for a spot on the Eagle County sheriff’s ballot.

“I expect we’ll have a higher turnout than normal because of the local primaries,” Simonton said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had both parties with contested races at the local level.”

She’s expecting a 25-30 percent turnout by the time the polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

It’s a mail-ballot election, but most people still vote on election day, either by going to a polling place or hand-delivering ballots.

“Typically about half the ballots come in on election day,” Simonton said.

Procrastinators can still vote

If you’re a professional procrastinator, then you can still register to vote, Simonton said. The only requirement is that you’ve lived in Eagle County for 22 days, and that you’re willing to sign a form saying that. If you’re lying, it’s a crime, Simonton said.

If you’re already registered, you can change party affiliations today, or if you’re unaffiliated you can declare yourself a member of a political party.

Board of County Commissioners, District 3

Two Democrats are running for this seat, Jeanne McQueeney and Patricia Hammon.

McQueeney has served on the school board for the past seven years and as the school board president for the past three. She helped shepherd the district through a 22 percent cut in state funding.

Hammon currently chairs Eagle County’s planning commission, served on the original open space committee, is active with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, is a Vietnam veteran and teaches certified nursing aides at Colorado Mountain College.

Eagle County Sheriff

Republicans Joe Hoy and James van Beek square on in Tuesday’s primary. The winner faces Democrat Daric Harvey.

Hoy, the incumbent, was first elected in 2002. He has seen the Sheriff’s Office through unprecedented growth and brutal budget cuts. He served in Vietnam, where he flew helicopters on combat and rescue missions.

Van Beek, a former Sheriff’s Office patrol deputy and detective, has spent the past several years organizing and training police forces in Kosovo and Afghanistan. He has also been a patrol volunteer with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

State House, District 26, Eagle and Routt counties

Chuck McConnell faces Dave Moloney, both from Routt County. The winner faces Diane Mitsch Bush, also from Routt County.

Chuck McConnell is a former energy industry executive who says Eagle and Routt counties need someone in the state House who knows business. He says jobs and the economy remain a high priority and that a robust economy and job creation will enable us to tackle the tough challenges of our time.

Dave Moloney says his life experiences have prepared him to serve in the state House. He owns his own business in Steamboat Springs and says he will work to maintain well paying jobs and for education reform that maintains local control and gives parents more choice.

UNITED STATES House, 3rd Congressional District

Incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton faces a primary against Palisade peach farmer Dave Cox.

Tipton won 66.2 percent of the vote at the Republican state assembly. Cox won 33.8 percent of the vote, enough to put him on today’s primary ballot.

Cox says Congress should impeach President Barack Obama, eliminate the Federal Reserve and shrink the size of the federal government.

Tipton is running for a third term in the 3rd Congressional District, which covers the Western Slope plus Pueblo County.

The winner of the Republican primary faces Democrat Abel Tapia, a former state senator and director of the Colorado Lottery, in the general election.

Republican governor primary

Four Republicans are squared off in the Republican primary. The winner faces Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper.

Bob Beauprez: The former congressman says the next governor needs to be more out-front in touting the state’s business climate, one that he believes he can improve by cutting taxes and regulations.

Scott Gessler: The current Colorado Secretary of State doesn’t feel the state is doing enough to market its business strengths. He says the state’s economic development office should do as much for outlying areas as it does the Denver metro area.

Mike Kopp: A former Army Ranger, Kopp won the most votes at the Republican state assembly. He says he wants to address taxes and spending, regulatory reform, road-building, water storage and higher education.

Tom Tancredo: The former congressman says he is bullish on Colorado and wants to attract new businesses to the state while strengthening existing businesses.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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