All but one Eagle County-level elected official is running unopposed this year | VailDaily.com

All but one Eagle County-level elected official is running unopposed this year

Unaffiliated voters can participate in one party's primary, or the other, but not both. Colorado's primary is June 26.

EAGLE COUNTY — One of the things you'll notice on this year's primary ballots for Eagle County is the number of incumbents who are running unopposed.

With the exception of an Eagle County commissioner seat currently held by Democrat Jeanne McQueeney — who's facing a challenge from Republican Jacqueline Cartier — none of the county's elected officials have a major-party opponent this year.

The Eagle County Surveyor's job is open this year, since current surveyor Ted Archibeque, a Republican, declined to seek another term.

Democrat Kelly Miller — who ran for the job in 2014 and lost to Archibeque — is the only candidate this year.

That will leave Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek as the only elected Republican in the county, pending the outcome of the commissioner's race this fall.

Kaye Ferry, chairwoman of the county's Republican Party, said the party filled the most important spots on the local ballot — commissioner, state senator and state representative.

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State-level challengers

Olin Lund, a former Delta County Commissioner, is running against incumbent Democrat Kerry Donovan in the sprawling Senate District 5, which includes Eagle, Pitkin, Lake, Chaffee, Gunnison, Delta and Hinsdale counties.

In House District 26, which includes Eagle and Routt counties, Ferry said there's been a change in the Republican challenger to appointed incumbent Democrat Dylan Roberts.

Ferry said John Rosenfeld has stepped aside in favor of Nicole Mills.

Aside from those contested seats, though, the rest of the county-level ballot is literally one-sided.

Ferry said that the county's elected treasurer, clerk and recorder and assessor positions all require "a lot of expertise." Finding challengers for those positions generally requires someone currently working in those offices, and that didn't happen this year.

Eagle County Clerk & Recorder Regina O'Brien was appointed to her job when current Eagle County Treasurer Teak Simonton was elected to that position in 2016, following the mid-term resignation of former long-term Treasurer Karen Sheaffer.

O'Brien said the clerk and recorder's job is already a full-time position — and then some. O'Brien said she and her team are already working 10-hour days — and more — getting ready for next week's primary election and the November general election. Besides that work, O'Brien's office also has to participate in a statewide change to the motor vehicle registration system.

Not having to campaign for office allows O'Brien more time to focus on the work at hand, she said.

Always campaigning

On the other hand, Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis — who has previously run opposed and unopposed — said a public official is always campaigning to some extent.

"I'll still walk in the parades and talk to the newspaper," Bettis said. "I'm still involved with the party. … It's good for the public to know you're still the coroner."

Eagle County Assessor Mark Chapin's last contested election was in 2006, when he prevailed in a race for an open seat.

Chapin said the key to his success as an elected official is having a great team in his office and running as transparent an operation as possible.

"We invite people to come in, rather than convince them not to," Chapin said.

But, Chapin agreed with Bettis, saying, "Every day for an elected official is a day you're running for office. … You serve everybody, and that cuts through party lines."

At the Sheriff's Office, van Beek said this election season holds a lot less stress than the last two.

In 2010, van Beek ran as an independent and lost to then-Sheriff Joe Hoy by fewer than 100 votes. In 2014, van Beek defeated Hoy in the Republican primary and won a very close general election contest with Democrat Daric Harvey.

Agreeing with Chapin and Bettis, van Beek also noted that not having a general election opponent is "a relief in many ways — then you're focused on the job."

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.

Voting in the primary?

If you’re a registered voter in Eagle County and not registered with one of the two major parties, you received two primary ballots in the mail. While unaffiliated voters can now vote in party primaries, please, just send one back.

Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien said ballots can be dropped off at the drop boxes in Eagle, Avon or El Jebel. There are also 24-hour drop boxes outside those offices.

A voter service center in Vail will open Friday, June 22, at the Grand View room atop the Lionshead parking structure. That center will be open Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, June 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Monday, June 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Election Day, Tuesday, June 26, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Remember, your ballot has to be in either an office or a drop box by 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, for your vote to count.

To see the ballots and for more information, go to the county’s website.