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Gail Schwartz tops ballot bid in 3rd district

Former state senator from Gunnison County chosen for primary

DENVER – Democrats in the 3rd Congressional District are hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez. Two vied Friday night to make the June 28 primary ballot.

Gail Schwartz, a former state senator who lives in Gunnison County, came out on top, garnering 70 percent with 259 delegates, enough to make the ballot.

“I am honored and grateful to have the support of my fellow Democrats for my campaign to represent the diverse 3rd district,” Schwartz said in a statement. “Since we launched this campaign, we have received incredible support from across western and southern Colorado. We are going to run a strong campaign that will stand up to the partisan special interests and finally bring some Colorado common sense to Washington.”

Her opponent, 55-year-old Eagle veterinarian Steve Sheldon, received 110 delegates, which was just under the necessary 30 percent to make the ballot. He said he missed the ballot by only one vote and asked for a recount. After the recount, the results stood.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported me and worked hard on our short but intense campaign,” Sheldon said. “Three days ago, no one knew my name, and I’m grateful to the one in three delegates who entrusted me with their support. I wish Gail luck in her upcoming election.”

A third contender, Aspen political consultant Gordon Bronson, dropped out of the race from the assembly floor to throw his support behind Schwartz.

“I am thrilled that we are putting forward such a great candidate,” Bronson said of Schwartz. “When no one was willing to jump into the race, I was prepared to take it on. But I have known Senator Schwartz my whole life, and I know she will make us very proud to be Democrats.”

Tipton campaign strategist Michael Fortney was quick to respond to Schwartz’ win, saying, “Big win for Gail Schwartz. She has now proven she is popular in the Aspen cocktail party circuit and with the same crowd that voted for socialist Bernie Sanders.”

Sanders gains delegates

Third district Democrats on Friday night braved a spring snowstorm to attend their assembly in Loveland, where presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gained more delegates.

The district resembled much of the rest of the state in terms of support for Sanders, who defeated Hillary Clinton at the March 1 caucuses, 59 percent to 40 percent.

In the 3rd, the Vermont senator earned four national delegates to Clinton’s two.

The 4th and 5th Congressional District assemblies also took place on Friday night ahead of Saturday’s state convention.

In the 4th, Sanders received three delegates to Clinton’s two; in the 5th, Sanders earned three to Clinton’s two.

The four other districts held earlier assemblies, where Sanders had a lead of 16-11 over Clinton. He had a lead of 26-17 headed into the state convention.

Another 14 at-large delegates were to be elected at the convention Saturday, as well as an additional nine who are party leaders and elected officers.

Colorado will send 78 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, including 12 unpledged superdelegates, who have largely supported Clinton.


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