Republican candidates for Colorado House District 26 meet in Hayden |

Republican candidates for Colorado House District 26 meet in Hayden

The June 28 Republican primary is the only local race with multiple candidates

Routt County Republicans Chair Pete Wood, left, moderates a candidate forum between Savannah Wolfson and Glen Lowe, right, at the Hayden Center on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Two political newcomers vying for the Republican Party nomination for Colorado’s House District 26 seat met in Hayden on Tuesday, May 24, to sway voters to support them in the upcoming June Primary.

The race featuring Savannah Wolfson of Oak Creek and Glenn Lowe of Eagle is the only one locally that has a contested primary. The winner of the primary will face Democratic Party candidate Meghan Lukens in November.

The redrawn district that now includes Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and most of Eagle counties chose the Democratic candidate by an average of 2.7% across eight statewide elections between 2016 and 2020, making it one of the most competitive in the state.

Several of the questions posed by moderator and Routt County Republicans Chair Pete Wood sought to understand how the candidates felt they appealed to both conservatives and unaffiliated voters that dominate much the Western Slope’s voter population.

Lowe said his roots in the district go back generations and that he has been building relationships his whole life that will help him appeal to both conservatives and unaffiliated voters. Still, he said the district needs a “true conservative” to represent them, something he said Wolfson isn’t — as she has supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the past.

“Give her 10, 15 more years to prove to the rest of us who are, that she is a conservative and I’d be happy to vote for her,” Lowe said. “We can be a really strong party and we need to make sure that we elect really strong conservative candidates that the conservative party and conservative voters are happy to vote for.”

Wolfson responded by saying she felt her previous support for Sanders and her experience of leaving the Democratic Party is why she is effective at explaining her conservative ideals to other people. She said she became a conservative when her family was robbed, and the experience had her looking into buying a gun.

“I think I’m better at communicating conservative principals because I am a walk-away leftist,” Wolfson said. “These things in my life are things that I can use to convince other people to vote this way. Running on being born into a conservative family will not appeal in a general election.”

Affordability from baby formula to gas prices is the biggest issue facing the district, Wolfson said. For this she blames Democrats, and said she will consistently call out members of the legislature across the isle for policies she believes is helping the wealthy prosper and everyone else struggle.

For Lowe, education and economics are the two biggest issues. He said he wants to introduce a parental Bill of Rights and get rid of standardized testing he believes is handcuffing teachers. Lowe added that he would try to offer tax benefits to companies to move into places like Craig and Meeker to help offset the loss of coal.

Lowe said he felt he would be a better general election candidate than Wolfson because in addition to appealing to unaffiliated voters, he felt he could excite Republicans to show up for him at the ballot box.

“(Republican voters) are looking at somebody that has a history of running a successful business, a history of raising a family and a history in Colorado,” Lowe said. “That’s the kind of stuff that makes them excited. I don’t think they get excited about somebody who’s voting for and giving money to someone who is a socialist.”

Wolfson, 32, noted that she gave to Sanders in her 20s and hasn’t donated to him “in a long time.” She felt the best way to beat the Democratic candidate was to continue doing what she has been doing.

“Gaining more of a following, being a voice, listening to people, knocking on doors, making phone calls, fundraising, sending text messages, sending out mailers,” Wolfson said. “We really need to stay on message this year as Republicans and my message will be affordability.”

The two candidates will meet again for another forum at 6 p.m. on June 1 at the Eagle County Building in Eagle. Ballots for the June 28 primary will be mailed out on June 6. While voters don’t have to be registered with a party to vote in a primary, they can only participate in one of them.

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