RBC I Two new county commissioners will take their seats in Rio Blanco County in January as the Republican primary election Tuesday ended up with former Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff soundly defeating incumbent Jeff Eskelson and Rangely businessman Jeff Rector squeaking by incumbent Jon Hill by 17 votes.
Final ballots counts were released at 10:58 p.m. with 1,605 voters having cast ballots and with more than 200 of those coming into the County Clerk & Recorder’s Office on Tuesday. The votes will become official at the canvass on July 11 and the new commissioners will be seated in January.
In District 2, which is mostly Meeker, Woodruff garnered 915 votes for the office while Eskelson pulled 546 for a 62.63 percent to 37.37 percent edge.
In District 3, predominantly Rangely, Rector drew 721 votes while Hill pulled 704 votes for a 50.60 percent to 49.40 percent edge.
County Clerk Boots Campbell said the Rector-Hill results were not close enough to trigger an automatic recount.
“I want to thank those who voted for me and even those who didn’t,” Woodruff said. “We’re all in this together and we are a team working for the betterment of the entire county. I can further say that I have nothing negative to say about Jeff Eskelson; he was always a professional opponent.”
“There are many challenges ahead, and it will be a challenge to learn all I need to learn, but I am anxious to get my feet wet and start learning those things,” he said. “I may live in Meeker, but I understand that I represent all of Rio Blanco County and that all county residents should feel free to contact me about their concerns.”
County Republicans followed the state lead by favoring Darryl Glenn for the GOP nod to take on Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet in the November vote for U.S. Senate. Glenn defeated No. 2 Jack Graham by 13 percent statewide, and he took 355 votes in Rio Blanco County to 315 votes for Graham for a 24 percent to 21 percent lead..
The Democrats also had an election that concluded Tuesday but none of those races were contested.
Other contested Republican races in the county and state included: incumbent State Rep. Scott Tipton winning statewide and defeating Alex Beinstein in the county by a 956-214 margin; and Joyce Rankin winning statewide and defeating Anita M. Stapleton in the county by a 550-376 margin to run for the seat on the State Board of Education from Congressional District 3.
As of press time on Wednesday the Herald Times was not been able to speak with Jeff Rector. We will follow up with this story next week.