Hamner wins seat after final votes are counted | AspenTimes.com

Hamner wins seat after final votes are counted

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

The complete but unofficial results in the contest for Colorado House District 61, which includes Aspen and Pitkin County, show incumbent Millie Hamner, D-Summit County, with an overwhelming victory over Republican Debra Irvine, of Breckenridge.

Hamner garnered 17,152 votes, or 52.1 percent of the 32,946 votes cast in the election.

Irvine received 14,312 votes, or 43.4 percent.

A third candidate, Libertarian Richard "Mac" Trench, had 1,482 votes, or 4.5 percent.

The final vote tallies reportedly were not available Wednesday because of vote-counting issues in Gunnison County. The vote totals do not include 100 or more provisional ballots to be counted, which are not of the magnitude to influence the outcome, according to a news release issued by Hamner on Thursday morning.

"I am honored to continue to serve the residents of HD-61 as their state representative. I am humbled by their faith in my abilities, and I promise to uphold my record of responsiveness and bipartisanship over the next two years," Hamner said in a prepared statement.

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Hamner said she would tour the district's five counties over the next few weeks to meet with constituents, education leaders and volunteers.

"I couldn't have done this without the help of my many volunteers. I've had help from all five of HD-61's counties, and even a few from Eagle and Garfield Counties. I am incredibly grateful to everyone, and I am thankful for the sacrifices made by each and every one of you."

House District 61, which was redrawn in 2011, takes in eastern Delta County, the northern half of Gunnison County and all of Pitkin, Summit and Lake counties.

Hamner received overwhelming support form Pitkin County voters. She pulled 4,643 votes, or 67.5 percent of the Pitkin votes cast in the race. Irvine, meanwhile, received 1,966 votes, or 28.6 percent. Trench received 269 votes, or 3.9 percent.

Hamner and Irvine both were unopposed in their party primaries. Hamner ran on her record, having first won the seat in November 2012. A former school superintendent, she has touted her knowledge of state and local education issues and support for efforts to bring more financial stability to beleaguered school systems.

In debates and forums throughout election season, Irvine has taken a pro-business, anti-regulation stance and attempted to paint Hamner as a tax-and-spend liberal. She has railed against Hamner's votes in favor of gun-control measures.

Hamner has responded that "gun safety," not gun control, has been necessary. The Colorado General Assembly enacted several measures involving firearms last year in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting and the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting.

"I can stand on my record and four years of successful legislation," Hamner said Tuesday evening. "My opponent didn't have that. I have a lot to be proud of."

Hamner also spoke of how she has taken a bipartisan approach to her dealings with fellow legislators.

"I know how to work well with other people," she said. "I think that's what people want and expect from their representatives. They want somebody who doesn't polarize issues and who can try to find compromise and bring solutions together. That's my strength."

Tuesday's election was a rematch of sorts. In November 2012's five-person race, Hamner finished well ahead of Irvine, taking 47.4 percent of the vote to Irvine's 34.1 percent. Former state Rep. Kathleen Curry ran third.

Hamner will be sworn in to the seat on Jan. 7.

andre@aspentimes.com