Tuesday’s primary election heats up for Colorado U.S. Senate race | SteamboatToday.com

Tuesday’s primary election heats up for Colorado U.S. Senate race

On Tuesday, registered Republicans in Northwest Colorado who have not already participated in early voting will have some decisions to make. Following is a brief overview of the primary races concluding on Tuesday and the candidates competing.

Colorado U.S. Senate

These five Republican candidates are vying for the chance to run against Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

Robert Blaha

Born and raised in a farming community in Iowa, Blaha said he understands the challenges facing rural Colorado and is fiscally and socially conservative.

Blaha said he is a 35-year career businessman who disagrees with the “permanent political class running the country.”

“Frankly, what they want to do is just stay at the trough of the public and feed as long as they can,” he said.

In terms of the coal industry, Blaha said he is knowledgeable and has worked in the private sector, building scrubbing systems for coal-fired plants.

“I know a lot about Colorado coal. I know how clean it is,” he said. “I know that the plan to kill coal is choking our economy.”

Blaha said, if elected, his main focus would be shifting away from regulations to established legislation and supporting local government.

Ryan Frazier

Frazier is a U.S. Navy intelligence veteran who said he has what it takes to defeat Bennet.

“That’s what counts in November,” he said.

Frazier said, he ties all of the other candidates strengths into a single package.

“I’m a small business owner, I’m a military veteran, co-founder of one of the largest public charter schools in the state and I represented the city of Aurora for eight years,” he said.

Frazier said he supports an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that fully takes advantage of the nation’s energy resources.

“It’s vital to the vibrancy of the community in Craig,” he sad.

One of Frazier’s primary focuses is addressing the middle-skill jobs gap.

“They make up half of the total jobs in Colorado yet only 42 percent of Coloradans are trained and educated to get those jobs,” he said.

Darryl Glenn

An attorney and 24-year U.S. Air Force veteran, who retired as a lieutenant colonel, Glenn defines himself as constitutional conservative.

According to his website, “Having been elected twice to the Colorado Springs City Council and twice to the El Paso County Board of Commissioners — representing the most populous county in Colorado — the time has come for me to pursue higher office.”

Jillian Likness, Glenn’s communications director, said Glenn has the ability to unite the conservative base.

Likness said recently Glenn visited La Plata County and witnessed some of the challenges facing communities rooted in the energy industry.

“We understand that it is an integral part of the economy,” she said. “Coal and all energy, especially for rural Colorado.”

Likness said, Energy independence is one of Glenn’s primary focuses, followed by a Veteran’s Affairs reform and budget balance.

Jack Graham

Graham said his primary motivation for running is frustration with career politicians who put their careers above the American public.

“We’re so caught up with bickering and fighting in Washington, D.C., that we’re paralyzed,” he said.

Graham, who sat on the Senate advisory board for atmospheric research, said climate change is real and humans do contribute, but the changes are not acute and will be measured in decades, if not centuries.

He said he views the current presidential administration’s reaction as irresponsible and suffocating to local industry.

“We have to pay attention, but we should not be taking steps that are radical and going to pull the economic rug out from underneath our feet,” he said.

Grahams top priorities are balancing the budget, re-upping national security and repealing Obamacare.

Jon Keyser

Keyser is a Western Slope native, U.S. Air Force veteran and Bronze Star Medal recipient who is confident he can defeat Bennet in the general election.

Owing to his service on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, Keyser said he is the only candidate who understands the threat of Islamic extremism.

Keyser said his experience overseas translates to support for domestic energy development — not only for economic security, but also for national security.

“Right now, we know that the base load for electricity in this country is based on coal,” he said. “I think we’re doing ourselves a huge disservice, crushing economies and losing jobs.”

U.S. House, Colorado District 3

Tipton vs. Beinstein

After receiving 40.3 percent of the delegates at the Republican State Convention in April, Alex Beinstein has forced a primary against three-term congressman Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez.

Beinstein said his three priorities, if elected, were to change the nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, protect American jobs through tariffs and return authority to local communities.

“I’m running for Congress because I want to honor the Constitution. I want to honor the Constitution because I think it’s the only way to bring wealth and prosperity to the 3rd Congressional District,” Beinstein said at a meeting in Craig earlier this year.

Tipton, who is running for a fourth term in the House, “continues to represent the many interests of one of the most diverse and geographically vast districts in the nation,” according to his website.

“Scott has used his experience as a small businessman to inform his work in Congress. He has fought to protect farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach, as well as push for expanded trade opportunities for Colorado products,” states Tipton’s website.

Colorado Board of Education, District 3

Rankin vs. Stapleton

Incumbent Joyce Rankin was appointed to her position via an emergency vacancy procedure but now faces challenger Anita Stapleton for the seat.

Rankin has a master’s degree and administrative credential from California State University at San Jose and has filled multiple roles in the education sector.

“I believe I have a better idea of what the job entails,” said Rankin when asked about the difference between her and Stapleton.

Stapleton is hospice nurse who has been working in that field for 18 years.

Her primary concern is common core and federal intrusion into local education.

“We’re just pushing more government control into our classrooms,” she said.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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