Vail Daily editorial: Party quality starts with primaries |

Vail Daily editorial: Party quality starts with primaries

Vail Daily Editorial Board

The true believers who vote in primaries have cause to double check their calendars. But yep, time to vote now rather than August as had been usual.

Democrats will cull the field between county commissioner candidates Pat Hammon and Jeanne McQueeney in their quest to replace termed-out incumbent Sara Fisher. The winner gets Republican Dick Mayne awaiting in the fall.

Republicans have a longer list to winnow, with primary races for county sheriff, state senator and governor.

Ah governor. Four of ’em are running for the chance to take on John Hickenlooper: Tom Tancredo, the former U.S. representative who lost running last time for the office as the American Constitution Party candidate; former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez; former state Sen. Mike Kopp; and current Secretary of State Scott Gessler. This primary will be a barometer of just where the party faithful fall on that scale between tea party and merely conservative.

The local race of note is between Sheriff Joe Hoy and his close competitor in the last election, James van Beek, back to try again after coming within 100 votes of winning the position as an independent. Now he’s aiming to be the Republican candidate who takes on Democrat Daric Harvey, a commander in the Vail Police Department.

Oh, there’s a state House primary, too, a couple of guys from Steamboat: Chuck McConnell, the GOP candidate who Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush beat out for the seat two years ago, and Dave Moloney.

We’re refraining from recommending votes in this one. We save the process by which we busily unmake friends for the general elections in the fall.

But we’ll mention that whatever your partisan hue — red, blue or the purplish cast most take on — here’s the best reason to pick a party. Independents, who have grown to make up 40 percent or more of voters in Eagle County, miss out on an opportunity to shape their party and quite possibly for the better.

Otherwise, it’s the folks at the far poles of their parties who do the choosing, too often leaving ultimate choices for a moderate constituency an unpalatable choice between out there left or out there right.

That’s really the bigger issue than the candidates themselves in this primary — how many of us will just skip it. That helps lead to the mess we have in Washington.

Yep, ultimately, it’s all our fault.

Meantime, best wishes to each candidate.

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