Baumgardner tops White in GOP state Senate primary

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News
Randy Baumgardner beat Jean White in the GOP primary for State Senate District 8.

BRECKENRIDGE – Challenger Rep. Randy Baumgardner won concise victories in all seven districts, securing 58 percent of the Republican vote over incumbent Sen. Jean White Tuesday.

In the race for State Senate District 8, Baumgardner won Summit County with 442 votes over White’s 315.

“I was pleasantly surprised that this turned out the way it did,” Baumgardner said moments after taking a concession call from White. “I was concerned at several points and didn’t know exactly how it was going to go.”

Baumgardner will now head into the general election to face Breckenridge Democrat Emily Tracy.

Senate District 8 encompasses Summit, Grand, Jackson, Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties.

Republicans in every county backed Baumgardner, who won 70 percent of the vote in Jackson and 60 percent in both Grand and Garfield, according to unofficial election results.

White said she was disappointed with the results that ended an ugly primary race marked by attack ads.

“I feel sorry for those that supported him,” White said. “His lies worked, and my truth didn’t.”

Baumgardner secured a strong early lead in the campaign, nearly edging White off the ballot at the Republican state assembly in April.

But both candidates spent tens of thousands on campaign materials, and both came under fire by their opponents and third parties questioning their commitment to the party line on social issues from same-sex unions to gun control.

Baumgardner questioned his position in the race after news of his affiliation with a convicted sex offender came to light in recent weeks.

With the first win under his belt, Baumgardner said he’s going to regroup before getting to work campaigning for the general election in November.

Democrats and members of the American Constitution Party also went to the polls for the primary Tuesday, although there were no contested races.

Still, Senate District 8 hopeful Tracy secured 415 votes.

The Summit County Clerk and Recorder’s office received 1,067 mail-in ballots for the primary, but only 145 people went to the polls Tuesday and a mere 57 voted early.

Summit Republicans also backed Eric Weissmann over Kevin Lundberg for Congress.

Lundberg was leading the district with 53 percent of the vote, according to early results Tuesday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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