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GOP chooses county candidates

J.K. Perry

EAGLE – The county GOP gathered Saturday in a grand old display of democracy at its smallest denominator – the caucus.In the Eagle County building 113 Republican delegates gathered to choose candidates to represent the party at the county level. The proceedings were not without a bit of drama.Commissioner candidate Hugo Benson attacked fellow hopeful Michael Bair based on a conversation the two had. Benson said Bair told him he could not beat Democrat Sarah Fisher in his home town of Basalt, a feat Benson felt he could accomplish and thus asked for the nomination.Later, Bair responded to Benson.”That’s Hugo Benson’s interpretation of what I said,” Bair said.The reason Bair said he could not beat Fisher in Basalt is there are more Democrats and Independents in Basalt than Republicans. Still, Bair said he can beat Fisher.Benson narrowly defeated his competitor by a vote of 62 to 51. Since both candidates received more than 30 percent of the vote, an August primary will decide which candidate squares of against Fisher and Independent hopeful Roger Brown.By a majority – 77 to 36 – Republicans favored Edward Smith for county assessor over current office holder Joyce Mack. Smith touted his practical experience – he holds the state’s loftiest appraiser license and has worked in the office for 19 years. Mack stood by the work she has accomplished while in office and asked for the nomination to complete programs she has implemented.A primary also decides the Republican candidate in this category.Sheriff Joe Hoy received the lone party nomination despite musings former sheriff A.J. Johnson might seek reelection four years after he left office due to term limits. After he left, those limits were lifted.Other nominees unopposed within the party include Karen Sheaffer for treasurer, Dan Corcoran for surveyor and Teak Simonton for clerk and recorder. All three are incumbents.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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