GOP and Democrats react on Election Day | AspenTimes.com

GOP and Democrats react on Election Day

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

Though Pitkin County voters showed overwhelming support for Democratic candidates in Tuesday's most pivotal races, Republicans carried the day in Colorado with key victories that had major national implications.

Unofficial early county results showed heavy support for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Congressional hopeful Abel J. Tapia, who were defeated by their respective Republican challengers Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton. There also was overwhelming county support for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was in a tight race with Republican candidate Bob Beauprez as of press time.

Watching Fox News on two TV sets, about 50 Republicans gathered at their Hyman Avenue headquarters, cheering the news of Gardner's victory.

"It was clearly an important win for the Republicans," Pitkin County GOP leader Frieda Wallison said. "A lot of us thought Cory Gardner was a great candidate, and it's not entirely surprising."

About 30 Democrats gathered at El Rincon on Main Street, watching CNN and MSNBC updates. Though former mayor Mick Ireland conceded that this was a bad election for Democrats, he was pleased with early results showing Patti Clapper ahead in the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners race.

"She had faced an uphill battle against an incumbent who is generally regarded as a nice person," Ireland said, adding that he thought Rob Ittner made a critical error in defining growth management as a central issue.

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Voters interviewed outside the Pitkin County Courthouse between 6 and 8 p.m. had different reasons for their visits to the polls, and local issues didn't rank high. Matt, 36, an Aspen consultant who did not want to reveal his last name, said his main reason for going to the polls was to vote for candidates who support climate issues and renewable energy.

"It was more of the state-level races, governor and U.S. Senate," he said of the ballot items that sparked his interest.

As a Democrat, he said that he is generally turned off by the huge increase in campaign spending during the 2014 midterm elections.

Dion Milliman, 48, a Democrat from Aspen, was pulling for Rob Ittner to retain his Pitkin County commissioner seat. She added that the Congressional and Senate races were tough for her.

"There's a part of me that doesn't want to vote at all. I don't really want any of them in office, and there's a part of me that thinks I've got to do something for the party I kind of believe in," she said, adding that she did side with her party.

Reporter Andre Salvail contributed to this story.

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