Full ballot on tap for voters this fall
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – We’ve heard campaign ads for much of this year, but the advertising grind is just about over. Still, with fewer than 10 weeks left until election day, Nov. 6, the campaign season is about to begin in earnest.
While we’ve heard plenty from President Barack Obama, challenger Mitt Romney and organizations acting on their behalf, other campaigns haven’t yet been as visible. And there are plenty of races and questions for Eagle County voters to ponder this year.
There’s little in the way of statewide campaigning this fall – there are no statewide offices up for election, and there are only a handful of ballot questions, including whether to legalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana and a measure that would amend the state’s personnel system.
The statewide ballot will also ask voters to retain or fire one Colorado Supreme Court justice and six members of the Colorado Court of Appeals.
The rest of this fall’s ballot will be local and regional candidates and questions. Here’s a look at the candidates and questions.
President of the United States
Democrat: Barack Obama (incumbent).
Republican: Mitt Romney.
While one of these two candidates will be the next president, a look at the state’s candidate list shows 14 other candidates on the ballot, running for parties from the Libertarians to the Socialist Party USA, with a mix of Greens, Objectivists in the mix.
Of course, every candidate for president has a running mate, but one vote is for one two-person team.
U.S. House of Representatives
For the past decade, all of Eagle County has been in the 2nd Congressional District, which has Boulder as its main population center. Congressional districts were re-drawn this year, and Eagle County ended up with most residents now in the 3rd Congressional District. The eastern portion of the county – including Vail, Minturn and parts of Eagle-Vail and Avon – remains in the 2nd.
• In the 2nd district, Republican Kevin Lundberg, a state senator from Larimer County, is challenging incumbent Democrat Jared Polis of Boulder.
• The 3rd district, which now includes Pueblo, Grand Junction and most of the Western Slope, is currently represented by Republican Scott Tipton of Cortez, who was elected in 2010. Tipton is being challenged by Sal Pace, who represents Pueblo in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Colorado House of Representatives
It’s been more than 20 years since an Eagle County resident has served in the Colorado Legislature. This year will continue that trend, despite the fact that Eagle County has the biggest population in the brand-new 26th district in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Two Routt County residents, Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush and Republican Chuck McConnell, are seeking the seat. Mitsch Bush is a current Routt County commissioner. This is McConnell’s first run for public office.
University of Colorado Board of Regents
• All state voters will choose the “at large” representative on that board, which governs the University of Colorado system. Incumbent Democrat Stephen Ludwig is being challenged by Republican Brian Davidson.
• The board also has representatives from each of the state’s congressional districts. In the 3rd district, the candidates are Republican Glen Gallegos of Grand Junction and Democrat Jessica Garrow of Pitkin County.
• Colorado Supreme Court: Voters will be asked whether to retain or fire Judge Nathan Coats.
• Colorado Court of Appeals: Judges Laurie Booras, James Casebolt, Dennis Graham, Gale Miller, John Webb and Daniel Taubman are up for retention this year.
• Eagle County: Judge Katharine Sullivan is on the ballot. Judges in Colorado are appointed by the governor, but do have to stand for election every few years.
The county only has two elected positions before the voters this year – two of the three seats on the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.
• District 1: County commissioner elections over the past several years have often been three-way races. That’s the story in this year’s race for the District 1 seat. That seat is now held by Peter Runyon, who cannot run again due to term limit legislation.
Seeking to replace Runyon this year are:
Democrat Jill Ryan, is a member of the Eagle County Planning Commission, the former director of the Eagle County Public Health Agency and current owner of Silver Street Consulting, a public health policy planning and research firm.
Republican Jeff Layman, currently the community manager for Eagle-Vail. Layman has spent most of his adult life in law enforcement, and has served on the Vail and Avon police departments as well as the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Independent Dale Nelson owns Paragon Woodworking. This is his first run for public office, but said he got into the race because of dissatisfaction with the two-party system.
• District 2: Democrat Jon Stavney is the incumbent, running for a second term.
He’s being challenged by Republican Courtney Holm. Holm, a local attorney, was a late entry into the race after former candidate Shayne Mitchell withdrew from the race following a domestic disturbance in July.
Avon Town Council
Voters will replace at least two, and possibly three, town council members. Current council members Amy Phillips and Kristi Ferraro can’t run again because of term limit legislation. Council member Buz Reynolds is seeking a second term.
Other candidates for the council are Jennie Fancher, Matthew Gennett, John Minervini and Jake Wolf.
Eagle River Fire Protection District
The district – which includes residents from the top of Tennessee Pass to Wolcott, but doesn’t include Vail – last year asked voters for a tax increase to make up for revenue lost as the value of property fell from its 2008 highs. Voters turned down that request, which has led to intermittent closures around the district’s five stations.
District officials are asking voters again, promising the new, higher tax rate would be lowered as property values rise to keep revenue at 2010 levels.
Town of Vail
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.