Runyon, Stavney have lead in Eagle County |

Runyon, Stavney have lead in Eagle County

Melanie Wong
Eagle County, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyEagle County Commissioner candidate Jon Stavney, left, and his wife Mary Ann Stavney, right, celebrate at Fiesta's in Edwards Tuesday after the announcement of Barack Obama's victory.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Democrat Jon Stavney had a big lead in the race for the midvalley county commissioner seat after an intense door-knocking, sign-waving, debate-filled campaign against Republican Debbie Buckley.

Stavney led Buckley in votes for the midvalley (District 2) county commissioner seat vacated by term-limited Arn Menconi 7,930 vote to 6,926 votes at 2 a.m., Wednesday morning. The Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s Office reported that a few thousand ballots were still left to be counted.

Stavney will join Democrat Peter Runyon, who defeated Republican Dick Gustafson, and Democrat Sara Fisher, who has two more years in office, on the once-again all-Democrat board.

“I’m really honored to be bestowed with the trust of the voters, and I’m looking forward to earning that while in office,” Stavney said.

Buckley, a former Avon town councilwoman who ran on a platform of lower taxes and government transparency, could not be reached for comment early Wednesday morning.

Stavney, a project manager for Beck Building Company, served on the Eagle Board of Trustees and then as mayor from 1998 to 2008. As mayor, he helped negotiate the development of Eagle Ranch, redevelop the downtown Broadway area, and supported the proposed Eagle River Station shopping center.

Stavney and his wife, Mary Ann, and their two children, ages 8 and 4, live in Eagle Ranch.

During his campaign, Stavney said he wanteds to work to make Eagle County affordable for teachers, firefighters, and other workers who keep the county running.

He also supports the county’s efforts to build and acquire affordable housing.

While he didn’t promise to work for tax cuts and a major slashing of the county budget like Buckley, he said he is committed to re-evaluating the budget.

Both are issues he plans to tackle after he takes office, he said.

“We have a very serious challenge ahead as far as revenue,” Stavney said. “It’s going to be a tough few years, and we’re still just getting a feel for what that’s going to be like.”

He said he commended Buckley for running an excellent, positive campaign, and being a worthy opponent.

“I’m delighted,” he said of the win. “It’s been a long adventure running (for office). I’m excited to move on from the running part on to the governing part.”

Early ballot counts indicate that Democrat Peter Runyon may get a second term as county commissioner, following a contentious battle against former commissioner and Republican opponent Dick Gustafson.

Runyon led Gustafson in votes for the upvalley (District 1) county commissioner seat 7,742 votes to 7,261at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. The Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s Office reported that a few 1,000 ballots were still left to be counted.

Runyon led Gustafson in votes through most of election night, but only by a margin of about 500 votes.

Runyon would likely join Democrat Jon Stavney, who held about a 1,000 vote lead over Republican Debbie Buckley as of Wednesday morning, and Democrat Sara Fisher, who has two more years in office, on the once-again all-Democrat board.

Runyon could not be reached for comment at press time.

Runyon, owner of a postcard and souvenir business, has served as commissioner since 2004. He lives in Edwards with his wife, Beth.

During his first term, Runyon supported county involvement in providing affordable housing, investing $4.5 million in affordable housing at Gypsum’s Stratton Flats, forming a housing authority and passing strict housing guidelines for new developments. He also worked on the I-70 Coalition and helped secure funding from the Colorado Department of Transportation for four new roundabouts at the Edwards interstate exit.

His platform included limited growth, preserving open space such as the Eagle River Preserve at the Edwards core and Gates Ranch in Burns, and trying to balance the skewed number of second homes to locally owned homes.

During the campaign, Runyon had to defend many of his decisions against his opponent, Gustafson, a former commissioner in the late 80s and early 90s. Gustafson criticized county spending decisions, the cost of expanding the Justice Center, and decisions that he said were made “behind closed doors.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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