EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Incumbent Democrat Jon Stavney Tuesday won a second term on the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.
According to preliminary results Tuesday night, Stavney was leading with about 77 percent of the county's "active" voters counted.
Republican challenger Courtney Holm faced an uphill struggle in her first run for public office. Stavney was a member of the Eagle Town Board for 10 years before being elected county commissioner in 2008. Holm, a local attorney, entered the race in early August after former candidate Shayne Mitchell abandoned his candidacy.
Stavney said he was impressed with Holm's showing.
"She's done amazingly well for someone who started eight weeks ago," Stavney said.
Holm, campaigning Tuesday afternoon outside Avon Town Hall, said she's "had a ball" in her first run for office.
With Stavney on his way to a second term, he said he wants to continue the commissioners' efforts to build a senior care center in Eagle, as well as continue the county's current open space program.
While Holm and fellow Republican Jeff Layman - running for commissioner in District 1 against Democrat Jill Ryan and independent Dale Nelson - had talked at length about sending the county's open space tax back to the voters, several voters Tuesday said they wanted the open space fund maintained.
Stavney said he's also ready to continue the commissioners' efforts to expand the Eagle County Regional Airport - particularly finding a way to create an international passenger terminal for commercial flights.
And, he said, he and the other commissioners learned Tuesday that the U.S. Forest Service had signed off on the Eagle Valley Land Exchange, a complex deal involving the county, the town of Avon, the Forest Service, and three state agencies.
"They were last to sign off on it," Stavney said of the Forest Service decision. "That's a real positive step."
The District 1 race was still close as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Stavney said he'll be willing and able to work with either Layman or Ryan. And the next board - Stavney, Commissioner Sara Fisher and whomever wins the District 1 race - will still have some serious challenges ahead.
The county - along with virtually every other county agency that relies on property tax revenue - took a bit hit in its 2012 budget with a roughly 20 percent drop in property valuations. All those governments and agencies are looking at another 20 percent drop in revenue starting in 2014.
"We're still in a period of retraction," Stavney said. "The fact that we can still do some of these strategic things - if this was a private company, you'd want to invest in it."
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.