KAJX

Hickenlooper Expected To Win, Valley Approves Raising Taxes & Rehires Local Representatives

Nov 5, 2014

Credit Elise Thatcher

The results are not final for Colorado’s governor’s race, but experts say Governor John Hickenlooper likely will be re-elected. In the Roaring Fork Valley, delays and glitches made for late night vote counting for Pitkin County election workers. As of this morning, results indicate Democrat Patti Clapper has won the race for Pitkin County Commissioner District 1. It’s not clear yet who has won a state senate race. For Senate District 5, at last count Democrat Kerry Donovan has a one percent lead over Republican Don Suppes.  

Results were too close to call last night in the Governor’s race, between Democratic John Hickenlooper incumbent and his Republican challenger, former Congressman Bob Beauprez. Now, the numbers show there are about 20,000 ballots still uncounted in Boulder county, which likely will push Hickenlooper into the lead.

Democratic US Senator Mark Udall was not so lucky. He lost his seat to Republican Cory Gardner, another former Congressman. Citizens decided to keep Republican US Representative Scott Tipton in office. His district covers the Roaring Fork Valley and much of the Western Slope.

In local races, voters in the Upper Valley have chosen to rehire Democrat Millie Hamner. She won House District 61 in the Colorado House of Representatives. Voters also decided to increase property taxes for the Aspen Ambulance District. Starting next year, nearly a half a million dollars will be collected each year to help cover rising costs for maintaining service. Gabe Muething is District Director.

 “We’re certainly excited. I think I’m just overwhelmed by the community support that we’ve gotten for this. Our staff on our off time certainly put in a lot of extra hours. Knocking on doors and visiting with friends and community members.”

Muething says the additional five hundred and fifty thousand each year will pay for new or improved home base for rugged ambulances and paramedic staff. It’s the first funding increase in three decades.

Basalt voters approved a tax increase of another kind. Visitors will see a higher lodging tax when they pay for hotel and motel rooms. And there will now be a five percent tax for people buy recreational marijuana, with that money going towards regulating retail marijuana and enforcing related laws. Those tax dollars are also supposed to go towards efforts to keep minors from consuming pot… but in the end, the increased funds can also pay for town operating expenses and improvements.

Voters in the Upper Valley also chose to rehire state representative Diane Mitsch Bush, for House District 26. The Democrat won easily, and says she’s humbled to be reelected.

 “I think I won for two reasons. First, I’m running on my record, and on promises kept. But terms of my campaign, I ran a clean campaign that, which I don’t even speak of my opponent, I just talk about me.”

In right-leaning Garfield County, State Representative and Republican Bob Rankin kept his seat representing House District 57.

Republican GarCo County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky won handily over Democratic candidate Michael Sullivan. Jankovsky is pleased to be re-elected.

“This campaign was still about jobs and the economy in Garfield County. And so I think that was very important , from my perspective anyway. We did have a good ground game, and they’d go door to door.”

Part of midterm elections with an unprecedented amount of campaigning and spending, for all manner of races.