RBC I Tuesday’s election day belonged to the Republicans in Rio Blanco County as they had at least a couple of contested races while the county Democrats had none. Nevertheless, there is an indicator in even uncontested races as to how popular a candidate is when votes received are measured against other uncontested candidates.
There were 2,586 ballots sent out to Rio Blanco County Republicans, and 1,610 of those ballots were returned for a 62 percent turnout. There were 351 ballots sent out to registered Democrats in the county, and 105 ballots were return, for a 30 percent turnout rate. The Democrats had no contested races and there are no Democrats running for office in Rio Blanco County races this year.
The race drawing by far the most interest was the GOP race for county sheriff. Anthony Mazzola, currently the chief investigator for the Office of the District Attorney in the Ninth Judicial District, drew 916 votes (57 percent) to 667 votes (41 percent) for Michael R. Joos, currently the Rio Blanco County Undersheriff, for a total of 1,583 votes between the two. Only 27 county GOP voters didn’t cast a vote in the sheriff’s race.
“What I would like to say first of all is, thank you to the citizens of Rio Blanco County and all of the support I was given,” Mazzola said. “It is humbling, and I am honored to serve as your next sheriff.”
Mazzola announced that his undersherifff will be Brice Glasscock.
“He is very experienced in the EMS/fire field and with information technology, and he has has been a law enforcement officer for many years,” Mazzola said.
“During the next six months, I will be contacting the county commissioners and other county department heads to be briefed and brought up to the most current information so that I can be prepared when I take office in January,” he said. “I look forward to serving the people and businesses of this county.”
“I just want to tell the voters who supported me, thank you, and that I am sorry it didn’t work out,” Joos said. “I have truly enjoyed the last 12 years I have been the undersheriff and the past 24 years of my life and career here in Rio Blanco County.
“It’s hard to believe that after a 35-year career, it’s over just like that,” he said. “I have no idea what I will do or where I will end up at the end of the year.
“I have some family events coming up in the next month and a half and will be taking some time off for that,” Joos said. “Starting in mid-August, I will start job hunting and we will see where life takes me from there.”
Also contested on the GOP ballot was the governor’s race to choose the Republican candidate who will face incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November. The top vote-getter on the Rio Blanco County GOP ballots was Tom Tancredo, who drew 422 (26 percent) votes while Bob Beauprez, who won the state-wide vote to challenge Hickenlooper, drew 382 votes (24 percent). The other two primary candidates were Mike Kopp with 336 votes (21 percent) and Scott Gessler with 267 votes (17 percent).
In another of the contested GOP races in Rio Blanco County, incumbent Scott R. Tipton pulled 1,030 votes (64 percent) to defeat David Cox with 429 votes (27 percent) for the nod for U.S. Representative to the 112th U.S. Congress in District 3.
The only other contested GOP race in this county was for the State Board of Education for the Third Congressional District. In a vote that was never more than five votes apart during the three ballot updates here Tuesday night, challenger Barbara Ann Smith, who pulled 549 votes, edged incumbent Marcia Neal, who ended up with 546 votes, each sharing a 34 percent voter tally.
All other GOP offices were uncontested and will move on to the General Election in November.
Cory Gardner, the GOP’s lone candidate for U.S. Senate, pulled 1,200 votes for 75 percent of the votes cast in the county.
Uncontested state candidates on the Rio Blanco County ballot were: incumbent State Rep. Bob Rankin from House District 57 with 1,101 votes (68 percent); incumbent State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who pulled 1,083 votes (67 percent); candidate Wayne W. Williams, running for secretary of state, drawing 1072 votes (67 percent); and state attorney general candidate Cynthia Coffman with 1049 votes (65 percent).
As far as the top vote-getters among the GOP candidates for county office, almost all candidates pulled roughly the same, between 77 and 79 percent, with the exception of incumbent District 1 County Commissioner Shawn Bolton, who pulled 1,054 votes for 65 percent backing by county voters.
The other unopposed county candidates included: incumbent County Coroner Albert Krueger with 1,275 votes (79 percent); incumbent County Treasurer Karen Arnold with 1,273 (79 percent); incumbent County Surveyor Jonathan Leif Joy with 1,272 votes (79 percent); Boots M. Campbell, who will be the new county clerk and recorder, replacing the retiring Nancy Amick, with 1,233 votes (77 percent) and incumbent County Assessor Renae T. Neilson, who pulled 1,229 votes (76 percent).
There were no contested candidates or races on the Democratic ballot in Rio Blanco County nor were there any Democratic candidates for any of the county races — county commissioner, county clerk, county treasurer, county assessor, county sheriff, county surveyor or county coroner, nearly assuring that all GOP primary winners will advance to the office in January without seeing opposition in the November election.
The unopposed candidates on Rio Blanco County’s Democratic ballot were, starting with the top vote getters: incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall with 89 votes (25 percent); incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper with 88 votes (25 percent); State Treasurer Betsy Markey with 86 votes (86 percent); candidate Abel J. Tapia for U.S. Representative to the 114th U.S. Congress from District 3 with 84 votes (24 percent); Secretary of State candidate Joe Neguse with 84 votes (24 percent); and Henry C. Roman, candidate for the State Board of Education, with 77 votes (22 percent).
There was no Democratic candidate for State Representative from House District 57.
Rio Blanco County Clerk Nancy Amick, who will be retiring after November’s general election, said, “After each election, you always wish you had gotten done earlier, but I believe the election went quite well.
“It is a long day, but I have such magnificent judges and assistants; they are all angels in their dedication,” she said. “I am very, very lucky to have the opportunity to work with each of them.”