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RBC I Rio Blanco County’s Republican primary ballot, mailed to active Republican voters this week, is an exciting one as there are five contested races on the ballot.
These are for the right to be the GOP nominee against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, Republican Third Congressional District candidate, State Board of Education Third Congressional District candidate, and two seats on the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners.
The primary in the U.S Senate race has at least five candidates. They include El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, 50, who was the sole nominee at his party’s state convention in April with 70 percent of the delegate vote.
Retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel, Glenn is a two-term county commissioner, served two terms on the Colorado Springs City Council and owns a law firm. He has said he does not believe that human activity has caused climate change.
Four other contenders managed to petition onto the ballot since April. They include: Robert Blaha, 61, a Colorado Springs businessman and candidate for the Fifth Congressional District against fellow Republican incumbent Doug Lamborn in 2012.
Ryan Frazier, 38, most recently a political analyst for 9NEWS and a former Aurora City Councilman, was the GOP nominee for the Seventh Congressional District against Democrat Ed Perlmutter in 2010 and candidate for mayor of Aurora in 2011.
Jack Graham, 63, is a Fort Collins insurance businessman and former Colorado State University athletic director as well as CSU quarterback.
Jon Keyser, 34, is a former state representative from Morrison (Jefferson County), an Air Force veteran and Bronze Star recipient who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keyser has the distinction of having signed Colorado’s declaration to limit service to two terms, if elected, and this is printed on the ballot.
Sources indicate there may also be a write-in candidate in the U.S. Senate race.
Third Congressional District Congressman Scott Tipton of Cortez, a three-term incumbent, has also drawn an opponent in Alex Beinstein, 27, of Carbondale, who made an appearance at the Meeker Republican county commissioner candidate forum on May 23.
Beinstein is a recent University of Maine Law School graduate who surprised commentators at the April Republican Third Congressional District assembly by pulling an impressive 40 percent of delegate votes.
Beinstein says people “are sick and tired of politicians that they feel are owned by the special interests, the lobbyists, the donors.”
At a Bear’s Ears Tea Party Patriots meeting in Craig, Beinstein characterized Tipton as a “placeholder for a lobbying firm” and an example of “crony capitalism.”
For his part, Beinstein says he’s generally for local control of public education and energy policy and increasing the minimum wage.
In early May, Beinstein told the Telluride Daily Planet that he supports transferring power from the federal government to state government in as many instances as possible and believes that federal land should be transferred to local or state entities.
Beinstein also said he supported affordable housing programs and community, locally-driven healthcare.
There is also a contested Republican primary race for our regional Third Congressional District on the State Board of Education.
Joyce Rankin, 68, of Carbondale, is the spouse of District 57 State Rep. Bob Rankin. She was appointed to fill a vacancy on the state board in August 2015. She has been both a teacher and principal in public schools. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a master’s degree in education from California State University at San Jose.
Her primary challenger is Anita Stapleton, 49, of Pueblo. Stapleton is known for her activism and concern about the common core curriculum being a federal education mandate that leads to conformity rather than excellence. Stapleton’s concerns have been endorsed by the Pueblo Chieftain.
Rio Blanco County Clerk Boots Campbell said 2,555 primary ballots are being mailed to active Republican voters this week. They must be back in her office by June 28.
Campbell also said 333 active Democratic voter ballots were mailed even though there are no contested races on the Democratic side. Anyone who is a registered unaffiliated voter can choose to become a Republican voter up until June 28. If such a person becomes a Republican by June 17, which can be done online, they will receive a mailed ballot. Otherwise they will have to pick up a ballot at the Clerk and Recorders Office at 1032 Jennifer Dr. in Meeker or in Rangely at 17497 Highway 64.