Updated: Rankin holds thin lead in tight race with Hanlon for Colorado Senate District 8 seat; recount possible | SteamboatToday.com

Updated: Rankin holds thin lead in tight race with Hanlon for Colorado Senate District 8 seat; recount possible

John Stroud
Post Independent
Bob Rankin and Karl Hanlon

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Republican incumbent Bob Rankin has a razor-thin lead over Democratic challenger Karl Hanlon in the race for the Colorado Senate District 8 seat, which could end up in a recount.

Vote tallies reported by seven counties in SD 8 to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, as of 10:04 a.m. Wednesday, gave Rankin 50.14% of the vote to Hanlon’s 49.86%, with 228 votes separating the two.

State law requires an automatic recount if the margin is within 0.5%. The margin between Rankin and Hanlon stands at 1.28%.

Hanlon had taken the early lead Tuesday night based on returns from the mountain resort areas, but the race narrowed as returns came in from the more-conservative western parts of the district.

“This is a district that is really focused on the issues, and is trying to find a way to the candidate who can represent them on the issues that are really important to people,” Hanlon said as he waited for the final tallies to come in.

“It is an amazing thing to see people recognize how important their engagement is with this democracy,” Hanlon said of what was looking to be a historic record voter turnout in Colorado. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Rankin did not return a call for comment on election night, as the race was still too close to call even with the early morning tally.

Senate District 8 includes Garfield, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Grand, Jackson and Summit counties.

Returns had Hanlon, from Carbondale, winning in Routt and Summit counties, while Rankin had the edge in Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Grand and Jackson counties.

Rankin, who formerly served nine years in the state House of Representatives, is also from the Carbondale area. He is seeking election to the SD 8 seat he was appointed to in January 2019, replacing disgraced former Sen. Randy Baumgardner who retired after sexual harassment allegations and a subsequent investigation.

Rankin defeated Debra Irvine of Breckenridge in the June Republican primary.

Hanlon is a municipal and special district government and water attorney, who currently serves as the contract city attorney for Glenwood Springs.

He and his wife, Sheryl Barto, run the Smiling Goat Ranch, which provides equine therapy services for autistic children and veterans with PTSD.

Hanlon ran for the 3rd Congressional District seat in 2018, losing in the primary to Diane Mitsch Bush. He won this year’s primary for the state senate seat over Democrat Arn Menconi of Eagle.

Rankin is a former small business owner and military veteran who has served 10 years in the Colorado Legislature. He is the senior member of the Joint Budget Committee.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.

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