Dan Thurlow, center, watches the election returns showing him ahead of Steve Acquafresca in the race for the House District 55 seat at a gathering Tuesday of Republicans at the Blue Moon Bar and Grille. Watching with Thurlow are Ken Leis, left, and Gerry Tucker, both of Grand Junction.

Grand Junction businessman Dan Thurlow defeated Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca in Tuesday’s GOP primary for House District 55.

Thurlow, chairman of CPC Solutions, a longtime printing company in town, garnered 55 percent of the vote compared to Acquafresca’s 41 percent, according to the latest unofficial vote totals Tuesday.

Thurlow will go on to face Democrat Chris Kennedy for the seat, which is being vacated by Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, because he’s running for the Colorado Senate.

“We had a lot of people helping us, and I feel humbled and grateful to the voters of House District 55,” Thurlow said.

During the race, Thurlow argued that the district, which includes most of the city, needs someone with decades of business experience to represent them in the Colorado House.

Acquafresca has business experience, but has spent the past several years working in government.

Acquafesca has served on the county commission for the past eight years and is barred from running again because of term limits.

Acquafresca also served in the Colorado House in the 1990s when he was an apple grower living in Cedaredge.

“I’ve been telling folks all week long, which ever way it went I’d be happy with the outcome,” Acquafresca said.

“I’ve got a thousand other things to do, and now I can turn my attention to a variety of other personal and professional interests.”

Thurlow says his main focus in serving in the Colorado House would be to help clear the way for businesses to operate more unfettered from government rules and regulations.

“I really believe we need a different kind of thinking to represent us, and evidently the voters did, too,” Thurlow said while celebrating his win at the Blue Moon Bar and Grille. “We get so tied up in politics in doing the same thing the same way, and sometimes, as in any organization, you need somebody who’s outside of that box and think about it in a different way.”

Thurlow said his focus now will be on winning the general election in November, saying he intends to continue to push that message.

Government isn’t the way to promote jobs and the economy. That’s something only business can do, he said.

“Almost every person that I talk to immediately tells me about some regulation that they face in their own business or their own job,” Thurlow said. “I think that’s a huge issue. I think we can simplify things and get the government out of the process, and hopefully help the Mesa County economy recover and start creating jobs and growing again.”


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Dan Thurlow was always a great competitor. I hope he learns a few things beyond business if he wins the election. While I didn’t always agree with Aquafresca, I respect how he showed up and listened, and thank him for his service.

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