GLENWOOD SPRINGS—In an important Western Slope political horse race, it was a photo finish for the Republican party. Bob Rankin crossed the finish line just ahead of his worthy and respected Democrat challenger Karl Hanlon. The longtime rancher and Glenwood Springs City Attorney called Rankin today to concede the race and offer his congratulations. In the seven county district, 83,270 ballots were cast. Almost 51 percent of those ballots went for Rankin who’s final margin of victory was 986 votes. In terms of percentage points, it was just enough to avoid a recount. Rankin took Garfield County by four percentage points while dominating at the polls in Moffat, Grand, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties. Hanlon was the runaway winner in blue-leaning Summit and Routt counties where he captured 65 and 59 percent of the vote respectively. Hanlon and Rankin were commended for bucking the trend of negative attack ads and for being cordial and professional during the campaign.