Political newcomer and business owner James Iacino won the 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic assembly Wednesday with 49.4% of the delegate votes. He hopes to unseat Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, in November.
Diane Mitsch Bush, a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives, also qualified for the Democratic primary in June with about 47.5% of the vote.
The vote “shows that we are building the support needed to beat Scott Tipton this November and bring a real voice back to Western and Southern Colorado,” Iacino said in a news release.
To connect with voters during self-isolation, Iacino has hosted weekly online meet-and-greets on Wednesdays, and on Saturdays, he hosts a Facebook Live stream to discuss issues small-business owners are facing during the economic shutdown.
“We are in a time of crisis and need a leader who will stand for us and not partisan interests,” Iacino said.
Ryan Mulcahy, Iacino’s campaign manager, said they’ve seen an uptick in the number of people who go to the online events as they become the new normal.
Recent endorsements from prominent Democrats in Colorado, such as former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Attorney General Phil Weiser, former U.S. Rep. John Salazar and former state Sen. Gail Schwartz over the past three months have also helped bring attention to Iacino’s campaign, despite the global pandemic consuming people’s attention, Mulcahy said.
Mitsch Bush’s campaign manager, Robin Logsdon, said that despite the challenges of running a campaign remotely, “people are still fired up.”
“We are grateful and proud of the support we’ve gotten across the district and of all the volunteers helping us,” Logsdon said.
Mitsch Bush’s 43 years of living and working on the Western Slope is “one of a lot of reasons to be drawn to her candidacy,” Logsdon said. “She means what she says and she has the track record to prove it.”
As the small-business owner of Seattle Fish Co., Iacino said his experience with the COVID-19 outbreak has propelled him to focus on helping other small-business owners and those who have been laid off understand what resources are available to them.
Iacino has said he advocates for faster implementation of the $2 trillion economic relief package from Congress and “getting money into the hands of people who need it.”
Grassroots progressive candidate Root Routledge earned 3% of the delegates, and will not be on the primary ballot.
Logsdon said the 3rd Congressional District Democrats will “decide what vision they want” for the district June 30.
Emily Hayes is a graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald.