Two candidates added to ballot for District 1 county race |

Two candidates added to ballot for District 1 county race

One is former commissioner who stepped down after pleading no contest to felony in 2015

Grand County Commissioner James Newberry
Sky-Hi News file photo | Sky-Hi News

A second unaffiliated candidate has collected enough signatures to be on the ballot for Grand County Commissioner District One.

The Grand County Clerk and Recorder’s Office announced Thursday that James Newberry will appear on the 2020 General Election Ballot in November along with Travis Wildeboer, whose candidacy was announced Wednesday.

In order to get on the ballot, the two independents were required to collect 166 signatures. Wildeboer submitted 214 and Newberry submitted 194, according to the clerk.

Wildeboer has been a county resident since 2003, working as a homebuilder for 17 years and for Grand County EMS for seven. He lives with his wife and two children, ages 3 and 5. Wildeboer said over the phone Thursday that he is running as an unaffiliated candidate because he want’s to do what’s best for the community.

“I take pride in seeking out diverse viewpoints and educating myself on issues before making decisions,” he said.

Wildeboer added that he plans to focus on public health and supporting local businesses following the pandemic. He said he believes affordable housing in Grand should also be a priority and sees water issues as an important topic that he will seek out further information about leading up to the election.

Newberry could not be reached for comment Thursday, but he previously served four terms as county commissioner. According to newspaper archives, his tenure ended after he pleaded no contest to a count of embezzlement of public property, a class five felony.

He resigned from office in 2015 and served a 10-day jail sentence as part of a plea agreement. He was also barred from serving in government for two years as part of a deferred judgment.

Newberry was accused of charging both Grand County and the Colorado River Water Conservation District, where he served on the board of directors, for mileage to attend district meetings. More than 40 other felony charges related to embezzlement of public property and attempting to influence a public servant, along with five misdemeanor counts of official misconduct were dropped.

According to the Colorado Secretary of State, Newberry ran as a Democrat in his previous commissioner position. He is running as unaffiliated for the 2020 election.

The two candidates will be up against incumbent Commissioner Rich Cimino, a Republican, who saw no opponents in the primary earlier this year. District One encompasses Winter Park, Tabernash and Fraser.

In District Two, encompassing Granby and Grand Lake, incumbent Commissioner Merrit Linke, a Republican, will be up against Democrat Shanna Ganne. District Three, encompassing Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs and held by Commissioner Kris Manguso, is not up for election this year.

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