Grand Lake sets ‘re-do’ mayoral election for Sept. 23 |

Grand Lake sets ‘re-do’ mayoral election for Sept. 23

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

Grand Lake will be operating without a mayor through the summer, with an election set for Sept. 23.

Until then, Mayor Pro Tem Aron Rhone is set to take part in his share of ribbon cuttings, gavel poundings and document signings.

Even though the new responsibilities can cut into his work week, he said, “I’ve been at this (trustee) job a long time, so I know what it takes to be mayor.”

Rhone has served as a town board member for 20 years including mayor pro tem for four.

“And the rest of board is committed to making sure everything runs as smooth as possible until the next election,” he said.

Rhone has never deliberately sought the gavel-holding position even though his grandfather and uncle were both once mayors of Grand Lake.

So far, one highlight during his stint as acting mayor, he said, was representing Grand Lake in the opening of Trail Ridge Road on May 23 at the top of Rocky Mountain National Park, historically referred to as “Hands Across the Nation.”

Rhone said he took his young son A.J. with him, “and he got to help cut the ribbon.”

Grand Lake board members originally leaned toward a July date for its needed election, but July turned out to be too soon as the Grand County sheriff’s office and district attorney investigate as many as 50 Grand Lake voter names for registration qualification.

State statute says special elections may not be held within 32 days before or after the date of a primary or general election. With the primary election Aug. 12 and the general election Nov. 4, the next earliest date Grand Lake could schedule its election was in September.

Town Clerk Ronda Kolinske said she hopes to have a clean registration list by then.

“We’re all behind Ronda 100 percent,” Rhone said, “whatever she needs to do to make it work.”

Glenn Harrington, Grand Lake’s most recent mayor for a little more than a month, said he’s “regrouping” for another campaign.

Harrington was elected mayor by a two-vote margin after serving one term as trustee.

“The excitement from my supporters is stronger than it’s ever been,” Harrington said Wednesday. “I’m picking up support that was not there in the first election.”

Both he and former Mayor Judy Burke say they intend to run again and have been kept abreast of town business, attending workshops and meetings.

Burke, who served one term as Grand Lake’s mayor, four terms as trustee plus five years as a planning commissioner, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

The third candidate who ran in the April 1 mayoral race, Russ Martin, has since moved out of town, making him ineligible to run again ” unless he decides to move back, he said.

Martin secured six votes in the recent election.

“At least my votes weren’t under question,” he joked Wednesday.

The re-do election is taking place because in District Court on May 7, two electors were found to have been ineligible to vote in the April 1 election, rendering Grand Lake mayor-less due to an 88-86 vote spread between Harrington and Burke.

Town officials say any eligible town citizen may run for mayor in the upcoming election.

To be eligible, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on the date of election, be a registered elector of the town, and must have lived within the town limits for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the election.

To legally vote in the Sept. 23 election, citizens must have lived in town 30 days prior to the election, be 18 years of age and be a citizen of the U.S.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail