Election 2002: two challengers oust incumbents in Garfield County
Post Independent Staff
Of the three contested Garfield County races in 2002, voters prompted two upsets.
In the County Commissioner race, Democratic challenger Tresi Houpt defeated Republican incumbent Walt Stowe by 757 votes out of a total 13,467 cast (53 percent to 47 percent).
In the race for Sheriff, Glenwood Springs police lt. Lou Vallario, a Republican, defeated two term veteran Tom Dalessandri, a Democrat, by 1,500 votes out of a total 13,634 cast (56 percent to 44 percent).
Houpt swept all the precints in her hometown of Glenwood Springs and in Carbondale, plus one precinct in New Castle. Stowe, a one-term incumbent, won the rest of the precincts through the west end of the county, but it wasn’t enough to over come the lead Houpt built in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.
After the County Commissioner election, the candidates agreed two major issues helped Houpt to defeat Stowe.
For one, Houpt did not want the county to vacate the mile long Prehm Ranch road south of Glenwood Springs, while Stowe as a commissioner voted for the vacation.
Another issue was the ongoing debate about whether the county should hire a full time local government designee to act as a liaison between residents and the county, and the oil and gas industry.
Houpt supported the full time position, while Stowe leaned more toward a part time position at the most.
In the sheriff’s race, Vallario carried all the county precincts except the four in Carbondale, Dalessandri’s hometown.
In the race for Garfield County Treasurer, incumbent Georgia Chamberlain defeated challenger Cheryl Chandler by 2,305 votes out 13,413 cast (59 percent to 41 percent).
County Clerk and Recorder Mildred Alsdorf, Assessor Shannon Hurst and Coroner Trey Holt, all Republicans, were elected without opposition.
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