Schroetlin looks like an easy victor |

Schroetlin looks like an easy victor

Grand County sheriff-elect Brett Schroeltlin is given a ceremonial hat at a gathering of his supporters at The Ditch in Winter Park on Tuesday evening, Nov. 4. Numbers that came in between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Tuesday night showed Schroetlin with about 4,000 out of 6,000 votes.
Byron Hetzler/ | Sky-Hi News

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — At last it seems the dust has finally settled.

Preliminary results showed Brett Schroetlin had garnered nearly 70 percent of the votes tallied by 7:11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at the Grand County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Schroetlin had 3,026 votes among the 4,349 ballots counted. Though write-in votes had not yet been tallied, write-in candidate John Stein could not have won more than 1,323 votes among the first batch of ballots.

The county is expecting a total of around 6,200 ballots for the November general election. Stein would need to win around 100 percent of the remaining ballots to win the race.

Grand County voters are likely to breathe a sigh of relief at the end of what has been a long and arduous contest.

Seasoned political observers in Grand County would be hard pressed to recall such a bitterly contested election as this year’s sheriff’s race.

Many voters have openly expressed fatigue with the contentious and, at times, toxic exchanges that have taken place between both camps.

Citizens also took unprecedented interest in the candidates through social media during this race, engaging both candidates in discourse via a public Facebook page for local political discussion.

“It’s been a long road,” sad Schroetlin after the preliminary numbers appeared to make him the winner. “We’re excited the vote turned out the way it did. … I can’t thank enough people.”

When contacted at about 8:30, Stein said he was “still holding out a little bit of hope” but wanted to reserve comment for when he had access to more definitive numbers.

Schroetlin said the next steps are for he and his presumptive undersheriff, Wayne Schafer, to develop the policies and procedure manual they will use starting on “day one,” and to work on improving morale in the sheriff’s office.

Schafer worked for 10 years in the sheriff’s office, reaching the rank of lieutenant, and currently works as an officer at the Granby Police Department.

Second time’s the charm,

Schroetlin first defeated incumbent Sheriff Rod Johnson in the June Republican Primary.

Schroetlin had 1,207 votes to Johnson’s 1,056.

It wasn’t until July 11 that undersheriff John Stein filed to run against Schroetlin as a write-in candidate.

Schroetlin, a detective with the Winter Park-Fraser Police Department, first ran against Johnson on a platform of increasing employee morale and improving partnerships between the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement and emergency services agencies.

Schroetlin stated that the time was right for “a new direction” in Grand County law enforcement in a June interview with the Sky-Hi News.

Stein, who has served with the Grand County Sheriff’s office since 2009, told the Sky-Hi News that he sought to maintain the changes that Johnson has made in recent years, contrasting Schroetlin’s call for “a new direction.”

Stein had expressed concern with Schroetlin’s campaign platform, saying that some felt his ideas were “unrealistic, unethical and increase liability.”

Stein took particular issue with Schroetlin’s campaign promise to deputize all law enforcement officers in the county. He argued the move would increase the sheriff’s office’s liability.

Stein was criticized in turn for naming Johnson as his undersheriff, which some decried as a continuation of the status quo.

Stein countered that Johnson’s presence would smooth the transition process, and that Johnson’s experience would be a valuable resource for the sheriff’s office.

Judgeship, other races

Preliminary results showed Grand County voted not to retain Judge Ben McClelland. McClelland had received 1,982 votes not to retain, compared to 1,879 votes in favor of retaining.

The Commission on Judicial Performance for the 14th Judicial District recommended in August that voters not retain Judge McClelland.

The commission stated that Judge McClelland was consistent in his rulings and gave parties a fair chance to present their cases among other positives. The commission’s negative comments characterized McClelland as “arrogant, defensive, impatient, and lacking appropriate judicial demeanor,” among other criticisms. McClelland was given a 3.00, or B rating.

In the gubernatorial race, preliminary results showed Grand County went to Republican Bob Beauprez, who won 2,282 votes. Incumbent John Hickenlooper won 1,855 votes.

The in the hotly contested senate race, preliminary results showed Republican Cory Gardner took Grand County with 2,360 votes over Mark Udall’s 1,672.

In the U.S. House race, preliminary results showed Grand County leaned toward Republican George Leing with 2,491 votes. Incumbent Jared Polis had won 1,670 votes.

In the state house race, preliminary results showed Republican Michael Hocevar led Grand County with 2,417 votes to incumbent KC Becker’s 1,524.

Statewide results

According to 9News and multiple outlets, Republican Cory Gardner unseated incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall handily.

The race between incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez was still too close to call at about 9 p.m., but Beauprez had a small lead.

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