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March 02, 2016 03:51 PM UTC

BREAKING: Al White Launches Independent SD-8 Bid

  • by: Colorado Pols

THURSDAY UPDATE: Al White’s Democratic opponent in the newly-minted SD-8 tripartisan triangle, Emily Tracy, responds:

With news that Republican Al White, running as an unaffiliated candidate, has entered the Senate District 8 race, Democratic candidate Emily Tracy responded, “It’s fine that Al White has declared his candidacy for the Senate District 8 seat. The District is a large one, and there’s plenty of room for three candidates.”

Tracy continued, “The seven-county District is actually more diverse than is usually acknowledged. I know I have a substantial amount of support from not only Democrats but from many unaffiliated voters and some Republicans in the District. I’ve heard from many who are thrilled I’m running again.”

Tracy also noted that there has been a significant shift in party affiliation in the District since 2012 when she first ran, with Republican voters now 35.2 percent of the total active voters instead of the 40.5 percent of active voters they represented in 2012.

“This shift represents an opportunity for a candidate like myself, a moderate, common sense person who understands rural issues and knows how to bring diverse points of view together. We need new representation in Senate District 8, not the current Republican or a Republican who has temporarily removed his label.”

This is going to be one of the more interesting races of 2016. Original post follows.


Al White.
Al White.

A press release sent to us a short while ago ups the stakes even further in Colorado’s Senate District 8, the northwest Colorado seat presently held by Sen. Randy “Capital Cowboy” Baumgardner:

Former State Senator Al White (I) announced his intention to again represent Northwest Colorado in Senate District 8. If successful, White would be the first candidate registered as an Independent to ever win a seat in the state legislature. Former State Senator Al White has always been viewed by his Capitol colleagues as a maverick…

It has been rumored that White had been receiving calls from supporters throughout Colorado urging him to consider a run against incumbent, Randy Baumgardner (R). White reaffirmed this today, “I have been urged by supporters throughout Senate District 8 to run for my old seat. All of these folks worked closely with me during my time in the state house and state senate. Over the past several months, I have realized many residents feel it is time for me to continue my public service.”

In the Tourism Hall of Fame statement released January 4th, Al White is referred to as Colorado’s “Reverend of Tourism.” The release also mentions White’s time in the State Senate. “As a member of the Joint Budget Committee, he worked diligently to protect the tourism office’s budget,” and went on to proclaim, “No figure in the 21st Century has been more associated with Colorado tourism than Al White.”

This afternoon, White spoke candidly regarding a run in Senate District 8: “It is time we all look past party labels and ideologies. Instead of being forced by partisan leadership to vote in lock step with a specific party, our district deserves a Senator that will vote on each bill based solely on its merit. I know that without establishment support from the two major parties, a win will be unprecedented. That said, Senate District 8 is too important for me to not put up a fight. I can no longer let my family and the good people of my home district be poorly represented in the Senate. This is why I intend to bring a truly independent voice to our State Capitol.”

In short, no one has stronger connections to this district than Al White, who represented Northwest Colorado for ten years in both the House and Senate. White was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to direct the Colorado Tourism Office, which led to the appointment of Al’s wife Jean White to the SD-8 seat to replace him. Jean White was immediately challenged by then-Rep. Randy Baumgardner in the next year’s GOP primary, defeating her in one of the ugliest red-on-red legislative primaries in recent memory.

Al White’s entry into the SD-8 race as an independent further heightens interest in a race that was already heating up after Democrat Emily Tracy announced her run against Baumgardner. White’s deep ties to the region make it at least theoretically possible for him to win outright as an independent. Or, he might pull a sufficient number of votes from Baumgardner to flip the race to Tracy.

Any way you stack it, none of this looks very good for the “Capital Cowboy.”


10 thoughts on “BREAKING: Al White Launches Independent SD-8 Bid

      1. It's a pretty solidly Republican district, broken into two camps: the crazy tea party loons (Randy's people) and the more moderate folks (Al White's people). There's a small smattering of progressive liberals, but if Al gets any of them — and he might; he's still very well liked in the district — Emily is done, and so is Al. 

        Just one man's opinion, but I know the Dems wanted a newcomer to run, but when Al made it known he was going for it, they pulled that person out. No sense wasting a first opportunity.

      2. I gotta go with Tobias, ms Blue.  Sane voters are split two ways while the Bat Shit Crazy caucus re-elects Randy with 40 pct.  Tracy should throw her support tp Al.

  1. I don't really get why people think it's an overwhelming Republican district…it really isn't. You basically have two populous Dem majority countries (Summit and Routt, which Obama won by significant margins in 2012), three low populated Republican counties (Moffat, Jackson and Rio Blanco) and two fairly populous Republican-lean counties (Garfield and Grand). A candidate like Al White, who has won basically every elected position in Grand County and as Colorado Tourism Office director, has likely personally helped the tourism-based economies of Grand and Garfield than almost anyone else, has a real shot at swinging those counties towards him. 

    Best case scenario, Emily Tracy realizes she doesn't have a shot in a three-person race and we have Independent Al White in the State Senate next year. 

  2. Darn. I like Emily Tracy. She'd be great in the legislature. 

    Al White is a proven commodity. I'm surprised at this move unless he is positioning himself to run for Governor

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