Gibbs keeps Senate seat with landslide Summit victory | SummitDaily.com

Gibbs keeps Senate seat with landslide Summit victory

ASHLEY DICKSON
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY ” In a race that went late into the night Tuesday, local Democratic incumbent Dan Gibbs beat out his Republican challenger Don Ytterberg of Evergreen to win the Senate District 16 seat.

“I am both humbled and grateful to keep this position,” Gibbs said. “I have to thank all of the voters because I believe my strong numbers in Summit County made a huge difference.”

Early returns showed Gibbs with 58 percent of the vote, while Ytterberg garnered 42 percent.

Asserting his dominance with three-quarters of the vote in Summit County, Gibbs was the only candidate to break 10,000 votes in Summit County, beating out Barack Obama, who took in 9,570 to win the county’s presidential vote.

“It’s such an incredible honor to have the support of the county I live in,” Gibbs said. “I’ve worked so hard to be a problem-solver and work in a bi-partisan fashion, and this just shows that folks recognize that.”

The race was almost too close to call as both candidates waited anxiously for the final results, and Ytterberg refused to concede until the last of the votes were tallied.

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One of the larger districts in the state, SD 16 is comprised of 33,242 Republicans, 28,843 Democrats and 37,401 unaffiliated voters ” but voters tend to lean Democratic.

In Jefferson County, Ytterberg was able to slide ahead of Gibbs, giving him 51 percent of the vote and a win in his home county.

“I certainly expected it to be a close contest,” Ytterberg said. “And, as a first time candidate, I wasn’t surprised it was close right up until the end.”

Ytterberg brought a solid business background to the ballot, harping on the need for greater access to public lands in an effort to entice local economic expansion through the timber industry.

Gibbs, a known champion for the environment, countered his opponent in regards to deforestation, claiming that the tourism industry is largely dependent on the natural beauty of the county.

“There is a lot of work ahead,” Gibbs said. “I want to continue to focus on making Colorado’s economy strong, and ensuring that our tourism industry is both strong and vibrant.”

Gibbs and Ytterberg both ran tireless campaigns, spending much of the fall going door-to-door throughout Summit, Grand, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties, which comprise District 16.

Although little focus was directed towards either candidates campaign finances, Gibbs received $103,686 in campaign contributions, and Ytterberg netted $59,242, according to the Colorado Secretary of State.

Despite their party differences, Gibbs and Ytterberg placed considerable emphasis on both the pine-beetle epidemic and congestion on Interstate 70 throughout their respective campaigns.

Gibbs began his political career as the representative for House District 56, and quickly moved up the ranks to fill a vacancy position in the Senate following Joan Fitz-Gerald’s resignation.

Gibbs set an impressive pace during his freshman year in the Senate, passing a grand total of 22 of the 26 bills he carried, an average of more than one piece of legislation per week.

At the capitol Gibbs also sat on the Senate Agriculture, Livestock, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, the Senate Transportation Committee and was the vice-chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I can’t wait to start up at the capitol and I am looking forward to the legislative session,” Gibbs said. “But I definitely want to take some time to go skiing and do some fishing before it all starts.”