It's snowing hope in West Vail
November 5, 2008 —
Wow, what a night. After live-blogging into the wee hours on the key political races I’ve been covering for The Colorado Independent (www.coloradoindependent .com) and RealVail.com, I finally hit the hay just after 2:30 a.m. MST.
But first I had to chase a raccoon off the roof as six or seven inches of new snow pounded down around me (and it’s still snowing this morning). At least three more ski areas open on Friday, although none locally (Vail opens Nov. 21 and Beaver Creek follows on Nov. 26).
Life in the mountains, though -- and life in America – is good. I woke up this morning stoked by all the new snow and the promise of a great ski season, and also tremendously proud of my country.
Michelle Obama may not be able to say it without getting pilloried by the right, but it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about the USA – probably since we all came together immediately following 9/11. But soon after that the partisan bickering started, and so many bad moves were made in the following years.
Now I feel like we have hope again. Hope that we can put forward a progressive social agenda that will once again make us a world leader on so many fronts – from science to health care to energy policy to diplomacy to humanitarian efforts. We have regressed out of fear and retribution so far that it will take some time to undo what has been done, but President Barack Obama can make it happen.
Locally I’m also heartened by voters who understood that we could not take this county back to the 1980s and hope that developers and market forces will take care of things like affordable housing for young people, procuring open space for future generations, improving our schools and shaping our youth through early childhood education. On everything from transportation to dealing with the pine beetle, the Dems we elected will carry the day in coming years.
Both county commissioner seats stayed with the Democrats, and Democrats carried the county and the state for U.S. Senate and the 2nd Congressional District representing Vail. Republican Ali Hasan narrowly won the county but lost the overall race for the state House seat that represents us, with Democrat Christine Scanlan winning her home base of Summit County and claiming Lake County as well.
It’s good to know Hasan’s huge infusion of family money couldn’t buy the seat, just the county, and that he now has some time to hone his ambitious but unrealistic platform at a lower level. If he’s serious about politics, the energetic and charismatic Hasan should run for a town board (and ditch his lightning rod of a campaign manager).
But I’m not here to kick the local GOP while it’s down, I would just recommend they reassess who calls the shots, get rid of the far-right radicals and put up some moderate and reasonable candidates. They could have won more seats with that approach this season, even with Obama-mania.
For instance, having recently interviewed our former rep in the U.S. Congress, Scott McInnis, and our former state House rep, Al White – both more moderate Republicans who don’t mind listening to liberal viewpoints – I realize those are the kind of candidates all parties should be putting forward. People who are short on impassioned rhetoric and long on listening skills.
White won his overall race for state Senate District 8 by a 55 to 45 margin, although Democrat Ken Brenner carried Eagle County. But Al’s a good guy and will serve us well in Denver. Ken would have been great as well, and hopefully he’ll try again.
Below are the unofficial final vote tallies for Eagle County with about 85 percent (21,565) of the county's active voters (23,855) casting ballots. Take a look at those, and meantime, let’s put away the partisanship and get to work on all the problems facing our county, state and country.
But first, I may have to go skiing.
Unofficial Eagle County Election Results
Barack Obama/Joe Biden – 13,055
John McCain/Sarah Palin – 8,112
Mark Udall- 12,320
Bob Schaffer – 7,687
2nd Congressional District
Jared Polis – 11,354
Scott Starin – 7,661
State Senate District 8 (White won overall 55 to 45 percent)
Ken Brenner – 10,028
Al White – 9,647
House District 56
Ali Hasan – 8,725
Christine Scanlan – 8,342
Eagle County Commissioner – District 1
Peter Runyon – 10,144
Dick Gustafson – 9,628
Eagle County Commissioner – District 1
Jon Stavney – 10,390
Debbie Buckley – 9,173
Avon Town Council
Albert “Buz” Reynolds – 817
Kristi Ferraro – 810
Amy Phillips – 781
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