EAGLE COUNTY — Jeanne McQueeney has knocked on a lot of doors so far this year. Now she’ll get to knock on even more between now and November.
County Democrats on Tuesday gave McQueeney a narrow win over Pat Hammon in a primary race for the party’s nomination for the District 3 seat on the Eagle County Board of Commissioners. The final tally, which will be certified by July 3 or so, was 879 votes for McQueeney and 819 for Hammon. That slim 60-vote margin was even tighter through most of the counting Tuesday.
LOOKING TO NOVEMBER
McQueeney now faces Republican Dick Mayne, of Gypsum, in the November election. Both are seeking to replace two-term incumbent Sara Fisher, who is prohibited by law from seeking another term.
McQueeney and a few friends gathered Tuesday at e|Town in Edwards to wait for returns. Hammon, meanwhile, had her own get-together at Pastatively, a restaurant in Eagle.
“We’re either going to celebrate a victory or we did our best,” Hammon said Tuesday afternoon.
While Hammon has been involved in the county’s public life for years, this was her first time to seek elected office. She called the experience of running for office “interesting,” and said she learned that she has a “huge number of very loyal supporters.”
McQueeney, though, had just a few dozen more.
While this was Hammon’s first attempt at elected office, McQueeney has won two school board elections, although she ran unopposed once. She’s currently the president of the local school board.
THIS CAMPAIGN WAS A CHALLENGE
Despite her previous experience, McQueeney said there’s been a dramatic difference in running this year.
McQueeney said her commissioner campaign so far has been more intense than her previous runs for public office.
“There are a lot more things to do — a lot more people to reach out to,” she said. “And this is about trying to connect with Democrats.” That required using voter registration records to find the homes of party members.
That door-knocking has been an interesting experience, she said, mainly because people in different areas wanted to talk about different issues.
“What people wanted to talk about tended to be very specific to the towns I was in,” she said. “People in the Roaring Fork Valley (which she would represent if elected) want better representation first. They also wanted to talk about recreational opportunities.”
Elsewhere, McQueeney said people talked about everything from street lights to problems with homeowners associations.
DISCOVERING NEW PLACES
That door-knocking also took McQueeney places in the valley she’s never been, although she’s lived here nearly a quarter-century.
“I’ve been to the very top of Eagle Ranch and to little neighborhoods up the Colorado River Road,” she said. “You think you know where you live, and then you discover these places.”
QUIET BEFORE THE STORM
While McQueeney and her crew at e|Town were gleeful with the primary win, she said this is just the second step in a long process. But, she said, she expects a bit of lull for the next few weeks.
“After everything we’ve done so far, all the knocking on doors, I knew there’d be a lull one way or another,” she said. “I was hoping for a shorter lull and not a longer one. We’ll probably start back up in August.”
McQueeney said she expects to get in a quick family camping trip or two before aiming in earnest toward November.
“This really is a marathon,” she said.