Vail election: Midnight surprise lands Barry Davis a council seat
Last dump of results pushes Davis past incumbent Brian Stockmar, Jonathan Staufer
Barry Davis was thinking about going home to bed Tuesday at about 10 p.m. He’s glad he stayed up.
Vote totals from the Eagle County Coordinated Election were released Tuesday evening in three batches, at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight. In the earliest release, Davis in sixth place in the 10-person race. At 9 p.m., he was in fifth place, just a handful of votes behind Brian Stockmar, then in fourth place.
Socializing Tuesday along with other candidates and well-wishers at Vail’s Bad Kitty Lounge, Davis was about ready to head home. But candidate Travis Coggin came in about 10:30 p.m., and reminded those in the bar that a midnight vote total was coming.
Just after midnight, Bad Kitty owner Mark Gordon was the first to check the county’s election website.
Davis said Gordon shouted, “Hold on — Barry’s in!”
The following moments were “surreal,” Davis added. “I was just holding my head in disbelief.”
After the 9 p.m. results were released Davis had resigned himself to taking another shot at the council in 2023. But others urged him to keep his spirits up.
Keeping up hope
One of those people was Pete Seibert. In Seibert’s second run for council, he finished first among the candidates, with 887 votes. While Davis stayed at the Bad Kitty, Seibert gave Davis’ wife, Pamela, a lift home. On that quick ride to West Vail, Seibert offered encouragement.
“I was saying ‘It’s trending the right way,’” Seibert said. Seibert went back to the Bad Kitty, and joined the crowd waiting for the midnight totals to be released.
“It was just chaos … it was like being in some kind of movie,” Seibert said.
With Seibert’s election, along with the Coggin’s reelection and candidate Jonathan Staufer’s election to a two-year term, a majority of the Vail Town Council is made up of people who grew up in town. In Vail, where so many residents grew up elsewhere, that’s a potentially big deal.
Council member Kim Langmaid is heading into the final two years of her second term in office. She’ll be off the council, at least for a time, after that. Langmaid grew up in Vail. In fact, her grandparents opened the town’s first ski shop during the resort’s first winter in 1962.
Langmaid said she and her soon-to-be fellow council members have a deep commitment to the community.
‘It’s made us who we are’
“It’s made us who we are,” she added. “We wouldn’t be the people we are without that.”
Seibert, the son of Vail co-founder Pete Seibert, said the new council’s makeup reminds him of the town’s early days.
“I think it’s a lot like it was for our parents,” Seibert said. “We may not always agree, but we love being here and living here. We’ll find ways to find agreements and get things done.”
Langmaid noted that none of the council members who grew up in Vail have stayed their entire lives. Everyone went somewhere else to pursue an education or start their careers.
“When I was young, there were not that many professional careers available,” Langmaid said. That’s changed, she added.
Davis said while he — along with so many others — didn’t grow up in town, they all chose to live in Vail. In Davis’ case, coming to Vail required virtually coasting down Vail Pass, his car running on fumes, to take a job at a local restaurant and live in the crowded employee housing that business had available.
Everyone seeking office, or seats on town advisory boards, has to have a passion for the town, Davis noted. The board will have a balance between generational experience in town and those who came for essentially the same reasons Vail’s founders came.
For the new members, the real work is just beginning.
Langmaid noted that the town is working on a “Destination Stewardship” project, as well as a plan to chart a long term vision for the town.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in another 20 years,” she said.
Here are the most recent, unofficial, results from the Nov. 2 Vail Town Council election. The first three finishers will serve four-year terms. The fourth-place finisher will serve a two-year term.
Pete Seibert: 887
Travis Coggin: 724
Barry Davis: 697
Jonathan Staufer: 681
Brian Stockmar: 644
Kim Newbury Rediker: 637
Kathryn Middleton: 631
Kirk Hansen: 434
Niko Sayag: 431
Jermaine Wates: 233