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Grand County Democrats analyze primary results

A banner hangs above the fireplace in Deno's Mountain Bistro before the Grand County Democrats' State Legislative Roundup Session on June 22.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

Although the Democratic primary ballot in Grand County featured no contested races, the Grand County Democrats still paid close attention to election results. Zach Falconer-Scout, co-chair of the Grand County Democrats, said the results from the Democratic and Republican primaries encouraged the group.

The Grand County Republicans did not respond to a request for comment about their reaction to the primary elections.

Some results from the Republican primaries encouraged the Grand County Democrats, Falconer-Stout said. Voters in the county, whether registered Republicans or independents choosing to vote that ballot, voted against more extreme candidates in three state elections.



“If you look at (Tina) Peters, (Ron) Hanks and (Greg) Lopez, Grand County votes tracked the state-wide votes,” Falconer-Stout said. “These were the favorites. Peters, Hanks and Lopez were the favorites coming out of the Republican caucus and assembly process.”

Peters lost to Pam Anderson in the Republican primary for Secretary of State, Lopez lost to Heidi Ganahl in the race for the Governor nomination and Hanks lost to Joe O’Dea in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat. In all three races, the winners received the plurality of the votes from Grand County.



Falconer-Stout said these results showed Grand County voters rejecting extremism, something that he described as good for democracy. In the general election, voters will have more than one “reasonable” choice in these races since more moderate candidates won the Republican primaries.

“I’m going to sound like a horrible Democrat here,” Falconer-Stout said. “I care about having good candidates, good elected officials, way more than I care about winning. I don’t think it would have been a serious contest between indicted County Clerk Peters and Secretary of State Janet Griswold.”

As the Mesa County clerk in 2020, Peters and her deputy helped leak passwords and data from county voting machines. False claims about Democrats stealing the 2020 presidential election influenced their actions.

More extreme and favored candidates losing represented the Colorado GOP being out of touch with its base, according to Falconer-Stout. He also pointed to the GOP establishment’s celebration of the overturning of Roe v. Wade as not aligning with Colorado voters. O’Dea, who won the state Senate primary, supports the right to abortion.

“It comes down to who shows up at a caucus, and who shows up at an assembly, versus who votes,” Falconer-Stout said.

Their own party’s primary results also encouraged the Grand County Democrats. Falconer-Stout said that vote totals carried down ballot better for Democrats than Republicans. The difference between Republican votes for U.S. Senator and county commissioner totaled 464 — a 21% drop-off. The difference between the highest-turnout race for the Democrats, the governorship, and the county commissioner race was 67 votes, or a 5% decrease.

Falconer-Stout said the Democrats have good candidates that can bring change at the county level. He criticized Randy George, who county Republicans appointed to serve the rest of former commissioner Kris Manguso’s term, for getting an “insider’s appointment.”

“We think some sunlight would be a good disinfectant to the old way of doing business that has favored developers over working people who live here,” Falconer-Stout said.


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