Voters face few decisions for Routt County’s primaries
Just one local seat, House District 26, has a competitive race for party nomination
While this year’s primary elections are two months away, almost all the local races Routt County voters will see on the November ballot are already set.
The only contested primary locally is for the Republican nomination for the Colorado House of Representatives seat in District 26 — a race that features two political newcomers with Savannah Wolfson of Oak Creek and Glenn Lowe of Eagle.
“I think they are both very strong candidates,” said Pete Wood, chair of the Routt County Republicans, adding that the two candidates will debate each other in Hayden in May. “They both bring their strengths to the table.”
The winner of the June 28 primary will go on to face the only Democrat vying for the seat, Meghan Lukens of Steamboat Springs. Like her Republican counterparts, Lukens is also new to running for elected office.
“We’ve got a very caring intelligent young women who’s a local, went to high school here, teaches at our high school,” said Catherine Carson, chair of the Routt County Democrats. “We need more educators like Meghan as statehouse reps.”
Whichever Republican ends up on the ballot to face Lukens, it could be one of the closest House races in the state after the district got more competitive during the redistricting process last year.
In eight statewide elections between 2016 and 2020, voters in the reshaped district that now includes all of Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties and most of Eagle County chose the Democratic candidate by an average of 2.7%, according to the independent redistricting commission that redrew Colorado’s political maps last year.
Redistricting also changed Routt County’s Senate district so that it now includes most of the northwest corner of Colorado. There is no incumbent currently in District 8 as Routt County’s current representative, Republican Sen. Bob Rankin from Carbondale, no longer lives in the district.
For the Democrats, state Rep. Dylan Roberts of Avon is running for the seat in the state Senate and will be the only candidate on the ballot in June.
For the Republicans, former Eagle Town Council member Matt Solomon will be the only candidate in the primary after Grand County Commissioner Rich Cimino failed to get enough delegates at the party’s assembly to get on the primary ballot.
When it comes to the countywide races, each is set for November and some won’t even be competitive then.
According to Routt County Clerk and Recorder Jenny Thomas, Routt County Treasurer Lane Iacovetto and Assessor Gary Peterson — both incumbent Republicans — are the only candidates in those two races.
Mitch Locke, a Republican who owns Yampa Valley Funeral Home, is also the only candidate for county coroner with the current coroner, Rob Ryg, opting not to seek reelection. Democrats are not fielding a candidate in any of the three races.
“Those local races are usually pretty friendly and somewhat nonpartisan, and I don’t think it’s too uncommon they don’t have a challenger,” Wood said.
Two other local races — Routt County Commissioner District 3 and Routt County Sheriff — do have competition.
After current Commissioner Beth Melton opted not to run for reelection, two former Steamboat Springs City Council members will compete for the seat. District 3 is entirely within Steamboat Springs city limits, and candidates must live within the district to run for the seat. However, all Routt County voters will vote in that race.
Colorado uses an open primary system, which allows unaffiliated voters to vote in either of the major political party primaries, but not both.
Unaffiliated voters can choose which party’s ballot they receive or they will automatically be sent both but can only vote in one. Voting in a primary does not change someone’s party affiliation.
Thomas, the county clerk and recorder, is also up for reelection in November. She isn’t affiliated with either party and does not have a challenger at this point.
“We’ll find out when we start to circulate petitions,” Thomas said, adding that it is too late for anyone affiliated with a party to challenge her. “The only thing that is left as far as deadlines is unaffiliated petitions.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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