Surprise in House District 55

Laura Bradford never gave up, although she was clearly an underdog. And, as this was written, she was leading incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher in the House District 55 race by a narrow margin.

Whatever the final outcome, the closeness of the race is surprising. Buescher is not only an incumbent, but he was in line to become the speaker of the House if he was re-elected. And he has a long history of serving this community and the state, not just in the Legislature, but in a variety of functions.

Bradford’s hard-fought campaign was critical to the outcome. But she had help.

There were the advertisements from an out-of-area group that attempted to paint Bradford as unsympathetic to cancer patients because of her views on health care. That false statement generated an outpouring of support on behalf of Bradford, who is herself a cancer survivor.

And Buescher did his own cause no favor when he supported Gov. Bill Ritter’s effort to freeze school district mill levies and thereby raise property taxes. That action, and inattention to the concerns of some business people, caused Buescher to lose support in the business community and lose the endorsement of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. Bradford made business issues the central focus of her campaign.

It will be unfortunate if Buescher doesn’t go back to the Capitol, both to represent Mesa County and to serve as speaker of the House. He is a hard worker and a good lawmaker, and he has served this area admirably.

But we commend Laura Bradford for her tough but fair campaign. We trust, if the vote tallies remain in her favor, she will represent the citizens of House District 55 very well.


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