Diane Mitsch Bush wins Democratic primary, will face Scott Tipton in 3rd Colorado’s Congressional District | AspenTimes.com

Diane Mitsch Bush wins Democratic primary, will face Scott Tipton in 3rd Colorado’s Congressional District

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Diane Mitsch Bush

Rep. Scott Tipton, the Republican incumbent representing Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, now knows who he will face off against in the Nov. 6 general election: former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush.

All three Democratic campaigns eagerly awaited the returns once the clock struck 7 p.m. and the primary ballot boxes officially closed Tuesday evening.

From the first reporting, Mitsch Bush and her followers welcomed the results in from the Democratic headquarters in Pueblo as she was won in overwhelming fashion with 64 percent of the vote.

"People have taken time away from families, from their leisure time, from work to really get out and call and knock and work on the campaign," Bush said. "People from all over the district, from all walks of life. You know, votes from ranchers, coal miners, nurses, artists, teachers, heavy equipment operators and just everybody you could think of. … People from really all walks of life. Again, it's so humbling."

Glenwood Springs City Attorney Karl Hanlon, who finished second, stood alongside supporters at the Strater Hotel in Durango and former Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi watched with family and friends at his home in Carbondale.

Mitsch Bush won handily in Pitkin County with 58 percent of the vote, with Hanlon at 36.4 percent and Menconi at 4.9 percent.

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With a district comprised of 29 counties from Moffat to Pueblo, turnout, particularly that of unaffiliated voters, was on everyone's mind. The looming question: How would the newly enacted Proposition 108, which, for the first time in Colorado history allows unaffiliated voters a voice in the primaries, affect the results, some of which came in not long after 7 p.m.?

At 8 p.m., just over 49,000 votes were reported and 64.2 percent of them belonged to Mitsch Bush. That number held pretty much all night. Not long after, Mitsch Bush was declared the winner.

As of 10:15 p.m., of 61,377 votes (66 percent of counties reporting), she had 39,353 votes. Hanlon was second at just over 17,000 and Menconi was third at nearly 5,000 votes.

An attorney and lifelong rancher, Hanlon said his first run for office was humbling.

"It's been six months. We've built an incredible network of volunteers," he said. "We have supporters in all 29 counties of the district. Those supporters, that support of those folks has been humbling and it's really … honestly it's been one of the greatest joys of my life to work together."

A social activist, Menconi said of his grassroots campaign, "Your voices are being heard. I have tried to represent the voices that are not heard of the poor and minorities and your voices are being heard as difficult a time we are in right now and I appreciate all the hard work that you do in every aspect of your life with your families and your communities."

Mitsch Bush faces the task of unseating Tipton, who has held his seat since 2011 and who defeated his 2016 Democratic challenger, former state Sen. Gail Schwartz, by nearly 50,000 votes.