James Newberry appears to be cruising to re-election as Grand County commissioner
November 5, 2008
Voters appear to have retained Democrat James Newberry as District 1 Grand County Commissioner, based on results of early voting and some mail-in ballots.
Newberry heard the news while awaiting results at his Winter Park Ranch home Tuesday evening.
“We’re at the place in history with water issues,” Newberry said when asked what tops his list for the next term, “where it’s an opportunity to do things that have never been done.”
During his 12 years as commissioner, Newberry has grown to be a key negotiator for West Slope water interests.
Newberry’s platform for seeking another term was maintaining his role in that arena by helping to unify the West Slope and bring the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation into discussions over Grand County water.
Write-in Republican opponent Chas McConnell of Winter Park Ranch entered the race hoping “to provide new thoughts and ideas and a fresh approach to finding solutions for the problems our county faces.”
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Newberry said he’d been surprised that his friend decided to run against him.
McConnell said Tuesday he appreciates Newberry’s hard work for the county.
“As a citizen I’m grateful,” he said, adding, “It’s difficult to run against a friend.”
McConnell rigorously campaigned throughout the process as he faced an inherent uphill challenge as a write-in candidate. Regardless of the outcome, he said he found the process “extremely enlightening.”
“I learned a lot about Grand County, the people of Grand County, and I’m very proud to be living in Grand County,” he said. “I’ve had a tremendous amount of support. To me that’s flattering.”
Planning never to “close the door” to running again, McConnell said next time he’d throw his hat in the ring earlier to get his name on the ballot.
“Running as a write-in is not the right choice,” he said.
With Grand County calling on Newberry for four more years, Newberry said his experience readies him for Grand County’s standing set of challenges such as the landfill transition, water and growth.
The seasoned commissioner has said he takes pride in what the county has accomplished without asking for a mill levy increase or passing a bond.
“I feel like I’ve done a good job, worked hard for the county and spent a lot of time giving back to the community,” he said.
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