ANALYSIS: Top Primary Races Wrap Up

June 27, 2012

(Donkey Hotey Image)

Congressional District 2 GOP Primary: State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (53%) defeats Eric Weissmann (47%)

The virtual incumbent in the race, State Senator Kevin Lundberg used his long conservative track record and popularity with the Larimer County GOP to hold back his upstart challenger, Boulder Businessman Eric Weissmann.

In a race marked by each candidates’ geographic base, it was Senator Lundberg’s walloping victory in Larimer County (68-31) that washed over Weissmann’s victory in Boulder (65-35). The margins may have been similar, but the majority of primary voters in CD2 were in Larimer County, making that the the most coveted county prize of the night.

Senator Lundberg now faces incumbent Democratic Congressman Jared Polis, one of the wealthiest Members of Congress, who has spent millions on his own elections, leaving many observers wondering whether or not Lundberg will be able to mount a serious challenge.


Congressional District 5 GOP Primary:  Rep. Lamborn (61%) defeats Robert Blaha (38%)

This closely watched and hard-hitting primary contest ended with a whimper instead of a bang with Lamborn, the three-term incumbent, easily beating back a spirited challenge from businessman and political newcomer Robert Blaha – who spent upwards of a million dollars of his own cash on the unsuccessful challenge.

The lopsided margin seemed to be a surprise even to Lamborn, who told the Denver Post the day before the primary that he was “cautiously optimistic” about his chances.

Final vote totals may be delayed as a result of the raging Waldo Canyon Fire according to some media reports, but with Lamborn’s huge margin as of press time, the outcome of the contest is hardly in doubt.

Given the composition of the Colorado Springs-based seat, Lamborn’s primary win all but assures that he will be re-elected to a fourth term in the heavily conservative district.


State Senate District 8 GOP Primary:  Rep. Randy Baumgardner (58%) defeats Sen. Jean White (42%)

Baumgardner was able to overcome a significant fundraising disadvantage and 11th hour revelations that he knowingly employed a registered sex offender, to handily defeat incumbent Senator Jean White for the GOP nomination in this swing seat.

White, who was appointed to succeed her husband Al White after he vacated the seat to become Governor Hickenlooper’s tourism chief, came under fire for her support of civil unions and moderate positions that often irked more conservative Republicans.

One thing both candidates seemed to agree on was that the campaign was exceedingly negative, with both blaming the others’ supporters for excessive mudslinging.

“I’m proud of the positive campaign that I ran, and it’s unfortunate that my opponent’s lies and negativity won in the end,” White told The Observer.

“I want to thank everyone who voted for me and supported me through this difficult primary.  I’ve learned a lot, and this is probably the nastiest election I’ve ever been through,” the victorious Baumgardner told The Observer.  “I hope we can all come together in the general election and hopefully win.”

But while Baumgardner may have been celebrating last night, many GOP insiders continue to express concerns that his victory may make the seat more difficult to defend, potentially jeopardizing GOP hopes to regain control of the State Senate.


State Senate District 10 GOP Primary: Owen Hill (61%) defeats Rep. Larry Liston (39%)

While many of the El Paso primaries produced less predictable results, the momentum in this race was decidedly in Hill’s favor for the majority of the race.

Hill took top line at the State Assembly by a nearly identical margin – 63-36 – and continued his campaign along similarly successful lines in the primary, tarring Liston as a moderate and painting himself as the true conservative in the race.

This district is solidly Republican, making Owen Hill the unofficial next State Senator from Senate District 10.


Senate District 23 GOP Primary:  Vicki Marble (58%) defeats Rep. Glenn Vaad (42%)

Marble was able to affix an establishment label to Vaad that the three-term Representative just couldn’t shake.  In a replay of the old guard versus conservative outsider contest that has played out in GOP primaries around the country in recent years, Marble rode a successful campaign casting Vaad as a moderate to victory.

Marble’s campaign was also buoyed by the support of well-known conservative luminaries Tom Tancredo and Ken Buck, as well as a web video endorsement cut by mainstay Fox News personality Dick Morris, a former advisor to Bill Clinton.

Vaad tried unsuccessfully late in the race to take advantage of a police report suggesting that Marble had served alcohol to teens (an incident which resulted in a misdemeanor charge against Marble that was eventually dismissed), but Marble still won the race comfortably.

As with Senate District 8’s outcome, GOP strategists have fretted privately that a Marble win could make the seat harder to win in November.


CU Regent At-Large GOP Primary:  Brian Davidson (61%)  defeats Matt Arnold (39%) 

Questions about Matt Arnold’s academic credentials, the ensuing loss of several high profile endorsers, a subsequent scandal when Arnold posted the addresses and phone numbers of his opponents online, and a late barrage of hard-hitting radio ads proved too much for Arnold, who was defeated handily by anesthesiologist Brian Davidson.

Davidson’s win earns him a rematch against Democrat incumbent Stephen Ludwig, who narrowly defeated Davidson for the same office in 2008.


House District 19 GOP Primary: Majority Leader Amy Stephens (59.6%) defeats Rep. Marsha Looper (40.3%)

In one of the most closely watched contests in the state, an expected close battle ended up a blowout for Majority Leader Amy Stephens, with her handily defeating fellow State House Republican, Rep. Marsha Looper 60-40.

Though the race garnered plenty of ink, it had less than 12,000 total votes cast, providing a stark reminder of how small statehouse primaries are, regardless of the relative political size of their combatants.

For all of the talk of a bitterly close contest, the sizable margin Stephens walked away with also called into question the conventional wisdom that saw the race evenly divided.

Due to the makeup of the district, Stephens will likely cruise to victory in November.


House District 41 Democratic Primary: Jovan Melton (2,258 votes) and Terry Todd (2,216 votes)

Easily the closest finish of the night, as of midnight on election night with 100% of precincts reporting, 33 year-old Jovan Melton was in the lead by 42 votes over the 72 year-old Terry Todd – husband of the current occupant of the seat.

Neither side had conceded by the night’s end, meaning the race may not be settled until the results are officially certified or a recount takes place.

Should Melton ultimately emerge victorious, it is likely to be seen as a victory for the liberal grassroots – Melton campaigned on the elimination of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) – over the Democratic establishment.  As the district is solidly Democratic in registration and past vote history, whoever wins the primary is likely to become the next State Representative.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

One Response to ANALYSIS: Top Primary Races Wrap Up

  1. ken Clark
    June 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    No mention of Grass Roots Radio in SD 23???? not to toot my own horn but are you kidding?



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