Local voter turnout is high in primary election

Polly Oberosler takes GCEA board seat

By Mark Reaman

Gunnison County had one of its heaviest turnouts for a primary election in its history on Tuesday, June 26. More than 3,000 local voters cast their ballots for Republican and Democratic hopefuls throughout the state.

In the end, Gunnison County Democrats favored Cary Kennedy for governor over Jared Polis 712 to 703 while county Republicans voted for Walker Stapleton overwhelming as he received 487 local votes. Statewide, Polis won the Democratic gubernatorial primary and he will battle Stapleton who took the Republican race.

“There was definitely more interest than usual in the county,” commented Gunnison County election official Diane Followell. “A lot more people than normal participated. The majority went and voted on the Democratic ballot.”  In fact, 945 people cast ballots in the county Republican primary while 1,430 pulled the lever for the Democrats.

Under new state rules, unaffiliated voters can now participate in a primary for any political party and Followell said local unaffiliated voters “really stepped up and turned out to vote, especially on Tuesday.” The elections office dealt with more than 1,100 ballots on Tuesday alone and that kept officials counting into the wee hours. “It was busy but everything went really well,” said Followell.

She emphasized that while unaffiliated voters had to declare what party they wanted to vote with for this primary, the ballot was still secret and no party affiliation was changed.

On Tuesday, 3,243 total voters cast ballots in the county primary. The next busiest primary in the last dozen years was in August of 2010 when 2,278 people participated. Of the unaffiliated voters who participated this year, 624 voted in the Democratic election while 244 participated in the Republican primary.

In other election news, Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush won the primary to take on Republican incumbent Congressman Scott Tipton in Colorado’s third congressional district.

And even more locally, in a surprisingly heated and close race for a board seat with the Gunnison County Electric Association, Polly Oberosler took the district six race garnering 723 votes to incumbent John Vader’s 669 votes. Mark Daily ran unopposed in the GCEA seventh district and received 1,156 votes.

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