Mitsch Bush re-elected to Colorado Legislature | AspenTimes.com
Melanie Wong
Vail Daily

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Mitsch Bush re-elected to Colorado Legislature

Routt County Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush spent Election Day calling voters, working on finances and encouraging her crew of campaign volunteers. Today, she'll be celebrating her state House win by skiing Rabbit Ears Pass with her husband.

Incumbent Mitsch Bush will return for another term for Colorado House District 26, which covers all of Eagle and Routt counties. Based on results as of Wednesday morning around 8 a.m., she edged out Republican challenger Chuck McConnell by a solid win of 14,144 to 11,249, taking 53.5 percent of the votes. Libertarian Thom Haupt rounded out the results with 1,051 votes. Mitsch Bush's win was among a number of victories that mean the Democrats will maintain control of the state House of Representatives.

House Democrats held a 37-28 advantage during the 2013-14 session, and the Mitsch Bush-McConnell race was among nine narrowly contested races that could have resulted in a Republican takeover of the House.

Mitsch Bush, of Steamboat Springs, ran on a platform that included keeping mountain water from being diverted to the Front Range and other states as well as working with stakeholders and lawmakers to alleviate congestion and traffic on Interstate 70. She is heavily involved in a number of committees and task forces addressing both issues. On the campaign trail, she told voters that she has had all 13 of her bills passed in her first two sessions. She attributed the record to her ability to work across the aisle.

McConnell, also of Steamboat Springs, spent most of his career as a chemical engineer and later worked as the CEO of a large energy company.

Energy was a hot topic between the candidates and a concern for some voters.

One Eagle County voter, Dave Hanley, said he based his state-office decisions on "developing green energy the right way."

Mitsch Bush supports fracking but has worked for tighter regulations on the industry. She's also championed the use of renewable energy, voting for a bill that increased alternative-energy requirements for utilities.

McConnell ran on a platform of protecting the coal industry, a major source of jobs in Routt County. The closing of the area's coal mine would put hundreds of families out of jobs and hurt the economy, he said.