Gallagher expects to run for county commissioner
Eagle County Commissioner Michael Gallagher said Monday he expects to run for re-election.
Gallagher’s term is up this year, and he’s eligible for one more four-year under Colorado’s term-limits law. Concerns about his health have raised some questions about a run for office this year, but Gallagher, who has lived in Minturn for more than 30 years, said he’s looking forward to campaigning.
“I will make my final announcement in the next few weeks, but for now I expect to run,” Gallagher said.
The announcement comes just in time for tonight’s party caucuses. Gallagher could be nominated for the county commission seat during tonight’s caucuses. If he runs, he will face Democratic challenger Peter Runyon, his opponent for their party’s nomination. The winner will face Republican Richard De Clark in this November’s general election to represent Eagle County’s District 1 – Vail, Avon, Minturn, Red Cliff and parts of Edwards.
“I expected to have an opponent,” said Gallagher. “We need to give the people a choice.”
Gallagher spent recent weeks being treated for a persistent heart problem, and says he’s well on the road to recovery. He said he is also being treated for problems stemming from his service in Vietnam and exposure to Agent Orange.
Gallagher said his final decision on running will come in the next couple weeks, and depends on the progress of his recovery.
“If my health continues to improve as it has, I will run,” said Gallagher. “I have to have some indication that I’m going to stay healthy. I don’t want to start a four-year term and not be able to finish it.”
If Gallagher somehow does not appear on tonight’s caucus ballots, he can petition onto the countywide ballot prior to the Democratic county assembly, Friday, April 23. A petition requires 73 signatures to get a candidate’s name on the ballot for the county assembly.”If Mike chooses to run, and has to go through the petition process, I have no doubt he can collect 73 signatures he’ll need,” said Eagle County Democratic chairperson Deb Marquez. “If Mike chooses to become a candidate, we’ll have a runoff election.”
Long history of service
Gallagher is the former mayor Minturn. He was originally appointed to serve on the board of commissioners after James Johnson resigned six years ago, to move home to Kentucky. Gallagher was selected by a vacancy committee of the Eagle County Democrats. Johnson supported the committee’s decision to appoint Gallagher.
Gallagher is a Colorado native. His record of public service includes: 12 years as Minturn chief of police; a stint as Minturn fire chief; member of the Minturn Planning Commission; two terms on the Minturn town council; representative to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments; member of the Eagle County Human Resource Council; two terms as Minturn mayor; and chair of the Eagle County Regional Transportation Authority. Gallagher is married and has four grown sons.
After his appointment, Gallagher won his first term in the 2000 election.