Parties cull their candidates
The primaries went as expected: n The best-known candidates for commissioner in each party won. n The Republicans ate their own incumbent county assessor, just as they did four years ago.n Almost no one bothered to vote.Even the margins of the votes held no surprise. On the Republican side, Gypsum Town Councilman Tom Edwards won a relatively close three-way contest.For the Democrats, Sara Fisher took three of every four votes cast. Mike Lederhause, a dinosaur as a conservative Democrat, had a Don Quixote challenge from the get-go. That’s a big windmill to tilt at in an election that tends to be more partisan than the general elections, with only Democrats voting on Democrats, and Republicans culling the Republican candidates. Still, you have to admire the pluck to put yourself out there for public service this way in a county turning more liberal by the day.Assessor Joyce Mack’s rebellious office staff edged ever closer to making her a sympathetic character with a torrent of criticism of her service. The meanspirited flavor grew ever more sour. Let’s hope the nastiness ends with the primary for all the races to come. At least locally. We know that’s just too much to ask for in the fall state and federal campaigns.At 8 percent, the percentage of eligible voters who bothered with this civic responsibility remained in line with the historical pattern. Sunnis in Tikrit do better than that, which has to make you wonder who is less suited for democracy – Iraqis or Eagle County residents.Among those who do vote, the county appears to be continuing a political drift to the left. Arguably, Tom Edwards as a moderate was the most liberal choice among the Republicans. And Lederhause, running as a Democrat, only had Benson to his right, and not very far to his right at that.The assessor race, like the other elected county department head posts, had nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with voters’ sense of who could best fill the role. They went with Ed Smith, a 19-year veteran of the office, over Mack, crippled by her inability to earn an appraiser’s license during her term. Give her credit for staying positive in her campaign, which could not have been easy. Smith will vie with the Democrats’ Mark Chapin, a former deputy assessor, in the fall.The exchange of ideas among Edwards, Fisher and independent Roger Brown should be interesting this fall. We look forward to an energetic, and respectful, campaign for commissioner.Let’s see if the county’s voters figure out just how much effect commissioners have on their lives – and wallets – and show up at the polls accordingly. Vail, Colorado
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