Turner unseats Nelson by 11 votes in election

RBC — Kai Turner figured it would be a close election. But this was real close.
Turner, based on unofficial results, unseated incumbent Forrest Nelson for a seat on the Rio Blanco County Commission by all of 11 votes during Tuesday’s primary election.
“It was a close race,” Turner said. “But I feel good about it. It’s still unofficial, but I feel good about it.”
Thirty-eight percent of active Republicans voted Tuesday. The unofficial vote total was 397-386, in favor of Turner.
Despite, the close race, there likely will not be a recount, said Nancy Amick, county clerk and recorder.
“Statutorily, an automatic recount will not be triggered in this case,” Amick said, adding the vote totals will be reviewed and audited by the canvass board, which could happen by the end of the week.
Amick was surprised by the low voter turnout.
“I don’t know why it was relatively low,” she said. “I think, normally, we hit at least 40 or 50 percent.”
She said this was one of the closest races in Rio Blanco County in several years.
“We had a recount in a primary for sheriff, probably, about 12 years ago,” she said. “But (a recount) doesn’t happen often in Rio Blanco County.”
Nelson, who has been on the commission for two terms, was disappointed with the outcome, but not shocked, he said.
“I probably wasn’t real surprised,” Nelson said. “Somewhere down the line, I’ve probably made everybody mad. It just seems to be the trend. They want to boot the people out and start over. If that’s what voters want, that’s what they’ve got. Kai is a good person, but there are so many issues, it will take him awhile to get up to speed.”
There is one benefit for him, Nelson said.
“I’ve been in there eight years,” he said. “That’s probably enough for anybody. You have to be a glutton if you want more. Definitely, my blood pressure will improve when I get out of this.”
Nelson actually was in the lead Tuesday night. That is, until the Rangely results came in.
“Prior to posting Rangely (results on the county’s Web site), Forrest was ahead by three votes,” said Turner, who was born in Rangely. “Rangely came through for me.”
Turner was happy with the campaign he ran.
“It was a tight race,” he said. “I was really happy nobody was slinging any mud at anybody. I don’t have anything against anybody. That’s not why I ran.”
Assuming the vote tally stands up, Turner, who is a member of the Meeker Board of Education, could assume his new duties in January. He’s not sure how it will affect his role on the school board.
“I’d like to find out … if that’s something I have to do, should do (go off the school board),” he said. “I’ve had people ask me if I can stay on. I don’t know if I can, legally. I think it will be a thing where I won’t have time to do both, but I don’t know how it will work right now.”
One thing for sure, Turner went to sleep Tuesday night feeling better about things.
“Oh, I did (sleep better),” he said. “I’ve been nervous about it for several days.”