By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
When Garfield County voters start mailing in their ballots this month (they were mailed out on June 7) for the 2016 primary election, only Republicans will actually be making choices.
That is because there are no competitive primary races involving Democrats on the Garfield County ballot.
County Clerk & Recorder Jean Alberico told The Sopris Sun this week that state law requires that she send out ballots for the Democrats anyway, but only on the Republican side of the political ledger are there any races where two or more candidates seek their party’s nod to appear on the Nov. 8 general-election ballot.
According to the sample Republican primary ballot at the clerk’s website (www.garfield-county.com/clerk-recorder/) the contested races include:
• The fight to occupy one of Colorado’s two U.S. Senate seats, the one now held by Democrat Michael Bennet, featuring five ballot-qualified Republican candidates — Darryl Glenn, Ryan L. Frazier, Robert Blaha, Jack Graham and Jon Keyser, all businessmen or politicians from the Front Range, filed in time to make the official ballot. (A sixth, Jerry Eller, is listed by the online election website, BallotPedia, as a write-in candidate; and two other candidates, Arn Menconi of the Green Party and Lily Tang Williams of the Libertarian Party, will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.)
• An electoral contest for the District 3 U.S. Congressional seat, between incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-3rd) and Carbondale resident Alex Beinstein (the winner is likely to face former state senator Gail Schwartz, a Democrat from Snowmass Village, in the general election);
• A contest between Carbondale resident Joyce Rankin and Anita M. Stapleton of Pueblo, for the 3rd District seat on the Colorado Board of Education;
• And a local political race between long-time Garfield County Commissioner John Martin and his challenger, Aron Dias, a current member of the Silt board of trustees, for the District 2 seat on the Board of County Commissioners (a Democrat from New Castle, businessman John Acha, will be on the general election ballot in November, running against the winner of the Republican primary.)
The official primary election day, by which all primary ballots must be received at the county clerk’s office in order to be counted, is June 28.
Published in The Sopris Sun on June 9, 2016.