Suppes and Donovan race tight into the early morning |

Suppes and Donovan race tight into the early morning

Lee Mulcahy
Aspen Times file photo |

In a tightly contested state Senate race, Democrat Kerry Donovan, of Vail, is ahead of Republican Don Suppes, of Orchard City, by a margin of about 750 votes to represent Colorado State Senate District 5. District 5 includes Delta, Lake, Chaffee, Gunnison, Eagle, Pitkin and Hinsdale counties.

As of 8 a.m. today, state results showed Donovan led with 26,401 votes, or 48.64 percent of the ballots. Suppes followed with 25,680, or 47.25 percent of the votes, and Libertarian Lee Mulcahy, of Aspen, had 2,232 votes, for just over 4 percent.

This was the first time running for state office for both Suppes, who is mayor of Orchard City, and Donovan, a former member of the Vail Town Council.

According to early numbers, Suppes swept the polls in his home county of Delta, where he took a nearly 6,000-vote lead on Donovan. Donovan in turn took significant leads in Eagle and Pitkin counties. She won by smaller margins in Lake and Hinsdale counties.

Suppes ran his campaign promising he would undo recent gun laws and renewable energy mandates. He also said he would work to reverse cumbersome regulations on small businesses. Suppes comes from a ranching background and owns a plumbing and heating company.

“We’ve got to reduce regulations that are crippling business in Colorado. They’re making life hard whether it’s an electric bill or a medical bill. Costs have gone up and it can’t continue,” he said.

Donovan ran on a platform of finding money for higher education, re-examining testing requirements in K-12 schools, keeping water in the mountains and keeping health care costs down in the mountains.

Donovan’s family ties in Eagle County run deep, where her family has owned the Copper Bar Ranch since the early 1980s, and her local supporters were disappointed at the close loss.

Edwards resident David Viele said that although he is registered as an independent, he voted for Donovan.

“I grew up with Kerry, and I know she would be an independent voice and protect our lands and our water, which is very important to me,” Viele said.

Vail Daily Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

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