Bidez unseats Flaherty as Minturn1s mayor
In Minturn<a town of 1,000<one vote really counts.That1s the margin former Minturn Town Councilman Earle Bidez that won Tuesday1s mayoral race against incumbent candidate Gordon OHawkeye1 Flaherty, who has been the town1s mayor since 1998.3What a wonderful lesson in democracy, said Minturn1s election judge, Ty Gillespie, after a third recount put Bidez exactly one vote ahead his opponent.3Your vote does count, Gillespie said at 9 p.m., two hours after the polls had closed.Neither mayoral candidates was immediately available for comment at press time. Neither responded to calls, either, from Minturn Town Treasurer Jay Brunvand during his obligatory round of calls to the winners and losers once the election had been certified.Colorado Law prescribes that races won by less than one half of 1 percent are automatically recounted. Minturn1s election judges will meet at 5 p.m. this afternoon to do that. However, despite the minute difference, Minturn voters will not be asked to return to the polls to vote again.3We have a winner, Brunvand explained, adding that unless the recount today comes out different, Bidez will be Minturn1s mayor for the next two years. If a recount shows a tie, the two candidates will have to decide on their own.3Then we go to something that is amicable to both parties, Brunvand said.That could be anything from a foot race to a game of poker, or a simple flip of a coin.Flaherty, who was first elected to the council 10 years ago, can also petition for a recount following today1s recount in hopes that a fourth round of counting would decide the election in his favor.The councilMeanwhile, the election for four open seats on the council was slightly less of a nail-biter.Incumbents Darell Wegert and Bill Burnett were reelected decisively to four-year terms with 184 and 174 votes respectively.Burnett, 81, a retired plumber and lifelong Minturn resident, reacted stoically to the news that he would serve another four years on the council.3No problem, he said when asked what that meant to him.Next up, former councilman Fred Haslee, who lost the election two years ago against Ernestine Duran, won the third four-year term with 156 votes.3The voters of Minturn are becoming more sophisticated about who they vote for, a visibly happy Haslee said while awaiting the final results.After losing two years ago, Haslee had campaigned hard this time around, promising to bring Minturn back in the black and supporting the May 7 inclusion election into the Eagle River Fire Protection District.Being back on the council, feels good, he said.3One of my campaign promises was to make this town viable financially, Haslee said. 3That is imperative to me, along with the inclusion in the fire district. We need to find more revenue sources.Newcomer Jerry Bumgarner got four votes less than Haslee and will serve a two-year term as Minturn1s newest council member.Duran, meanwhile, lost her bid for reelection, garnering only 97 votes.In all, 223 Minturnites voted in Tuesday1s mayoral and council election<putting the voter turnout at barely 30 percent.The new mayor and town council members will be formally appointed tonight during the council1s regular meeting at 7 p.m. Both Bidez and Hawkeye will be invited to attend the 5 p.m. recount. Unless the vote results are different or a tie makes an alternative decision necessary, Bidez will be seated, along with the four council winners.Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 602 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.