Clerk approves commissioner candidate petitions
All three Grand County Commissioner candidates seeking to petition onto the June 28 primary ballot have successfully done so.
Grand County Clerk and Recorder Sara Rosene sent official statements of sufficiency to Republican County Commissioner Merrit Linke, Democratic County Commissioner Jane Tollett and Fraser Town Trustee Andy Miller, also a Democrat, guaranteeing their spots on their parties’ primary ballots in June.
Miller, who received his statement of sufficiency on April 8, collected 185 signatures.
“I’m excited for sure,” Miller said. “I’ve been flirting around the edges of politics in this county for 40 or so odd years. I think I’ve got a lot of good things to offer at the county leadership level.”
Miller, who has served on the Fraser Board of Trustees since 2014, will face incumbent Jane Tollett for the Democratic nomination for District One commissioner.
Tollett was forced to petition onto the ballot after missing the Democratic County Assembly on March 15.
In Colorado’s caucus process, party delegates are chosen at their precinct caucus to attend the party’s county assembly where they may vote for county commissioner candidates to appear on the primary ballot.
Candidates with at least 30 percent of the vote are automatically placed on the primary ballot. Candidates with at least 10 percent of the vote may petition onto the ballot.
A party vacancy committee appointed Tollett to office in November 2015 after former Grand County Commissioner James Newberry resigned earlier that month. Newberry was forced to resign as part of a plea deal after pleading no contest to one felony count of embezzlement of public property related to county mileage reimbursements.
Last month, Tollett told the Sky-Hi News that she had missed the county assembly because she was unaware that she needed to attend, adding that she had been overwhelmed with matters related to her job as commissioner.
Because the local Democratic Party did not nominate candidates for districts one and two, any Democrat meeting specific qualifications could petition onto the ballot.
Tollett received her statement of sufficiency on April 11.
“I’m happy,” Tollett said of her petition’s approval. “Two-hundred and nine people supported me.”
Another 22 people helped Tollett collect signatures, she said.
“I’m feeling good and trying to put my best efforts into running for the primary and then the final election in November,” Tollett said.
The Grand County Republican Party will also have a two-candidate ticket for the District One primary.
District One Republican candidates Rich Cimino and Chas McConnell each hit the 30 percent mark at the Republican assembly.
Former County Finance Director Scott Berger received enough votes to petition onto the ballot, though ultimately chose not to.
Linke will face Weydert for District Two
At the Republican County Assembly on March 20, incumbent District Two Commissioner Linke fell just a few votes shy of the 30 percent he needed for an automatic nomination.
Linke received his statement of sufficiency on April 11, collecting 695 signatures, well above the 426 needed to get on the ballot.
“There were a few more than I expected, so I was really pleased that that many people supported me or didn’t like the caucus process or really just wanted to see me on the ballot,” Linke said. “But it’s really just a first step. It gets us on the ballot, but it comes right down to the primary on June 28, and that’s where people have the choice to decide who is going to take Grand County into the future.”
With his successful petition, Linke will compete with County Assessor Tom Weydert for his party’s nomination.
Weydert, running a platform of reform, received 64 percent of the delegate votes at the county assembly.
Chris Ruske of Grand Lake received ten delegate votes at the assembly – enough to petition on to the ballot, though he ultimately chose not to.
Because the Grand County Democratic Party did not nominate a candidate for District Two County Commissioner, the race will be decided in the Republican Primary.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-557-6010.
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