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December 31, 2012
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Top 10 news stories, No. 2: Caloia narrowly unseats Beeson from DA's post

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - The Ninth Judicial District Attorney's office will get a new boss in 2013 following the tissue-thin defeat of incumbent Martin Beeson, a Republican, by Democrat Sherry Caloia.

Caloia, 57, of Glenwood Springs, announced her candidacy on April 26, aiming to beat Beeson, 56, of Rifle in the Nov. 6 general election.

Nearly seven months after the announcement, unofficial returns on Nov. 7 narrowly gave the race to Caloia by a 124-vote margin, 17,633-17,449.

But it took three weeks, until Nov. 30, before Beeson conceded the election, after learning that a recount would cost him $12,000. Caloia's margin of victory was not narrow enough to warrant an automatic recount, which would have been paid for by the state.

Caloia got her greatest support from Pitkin County, where she outpolled Beeson by 6,023-3,037, or nearly two to one.

Beeson won big in Garfield County, 12,094-10,810, and Rio Blanco County, 2,318-800, for a total edge of 2,802 votes over Caloia in those two counties.

But Beeson's tally in Garfield and Rio Blanco was not enough to best Caloia's 2,986-vote margin in Pitkin County.

The three counties make up the Ninth District.

According to campaign finance reports, Beeson took in more money during the race than Caloia did, but she spent more than he did.

Campaign finance records indicated that Beeson took in a total of $15,089, and ended up with $2,779 in the bank, spending $12,310.

Caloia collected $13,071 in contributions, borrowed $1,870 and spent a total of $14,712, leaving her with a balance of $229.

Caloia, whose work has been mainly in water law and municipal law, has said she will seek to loosen a backlog in the local courts system.

She charged Beeson with setting too many cases for trial and then not following through to get the trials concluded in a timely way.

She maintained the slow pace of justice in the 9th District has frustrated judges, victims and the public.

She also accused Beeson, in a political forum in Aspen in late October, with "stacking charges." That, she said, is a practice of overcharging defendants in order to force a guilty plea to a lesser charge.

Caloia has been wrapping up her private practice, and preparing to sell her Grand Avenue office, in preparation for her swearing-in on Jan. 8.

She publicly announced in mid-December that four of Beeson's deputy district attorneys will not be retained in her administration.

In the Glenwood Springs office, she told the Post Independent, she will be doing without the services of Assistant DA Jeff Cheney and deputy DA Sandi Kister.

In Pitkin County, she has given notice to both deputy DAs, Arnie Mordkin and Richard Nedlin.


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The Post Independent Updated Dec 31, 2012 01:21AM Published Dec 31, 2012 01:19AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.