Final count gives Jankovsky clear edge over Gordon for Garfield County commissioner

Republican Garfield County Commissioner District 1 candidate Tom Jankovsky interacts with people at the Republican watch party on Tuesday night at the Hotel Colorado.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

It took an extra day of vote-counting, but incumbent Republican Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky appears to have emerged as the winner in his re-election bid over Democratic challenger Ryan Gordon with the final tally released Wednesday afternoon.

After the late-night count Tuesday gave Jankovsky the edge by just 44 votes, there were still 2,859 ballots to prep and process for tabulation, Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico said early Wednesday morning.

The final, unofficial count gave Jankovsky the apparent win for a fourth term as commissioner with 12,058 votes, or 51%, to Gordon’s 11,604, or 49%.

Alberico said there are still as many as 450 ballots that could be counted, including overseas ballots that can still be accepted until Nov. 17, ballots for which voters have the opportunity to correct deficiencies, or ones that fall into other categories for the final count. However, that would not be enough to make up the 454-vote difference in the commissioners race. The next report will not be until Nov. 17, Alberico said.

“I would like to thank my team and all of my supporters,” Jankovsky said. “We had really great support from a diverse group of people, and I appreciate everything they did.”

The result closely mirrored the race two years ago between incumbent Commissioner John Martin and Democrat Beatriz Soto, when Soto held the lead based on early returns, but Martin surpassed her with the later returns to win by 501 votes.

Jankovsky noted that the county’s demographics have shifted some, leading to the closer races at the county level. Republicans also tend to cast their votes on election day, meaning those ballots are the last to be counted.

However, he noted that the other two contested races for county offices, for Clerk and Recorder and Treasurer, went to the Republican candidates once the final votes were tallied.

“What it really means is our electorate is taking a good look at the candidates they have to choose from before making their decisions,” Jankovsky said of the close races.

In those other races, incumbent Treasurer Carrie Couey, the former Garfield County Republican Party chair who was appointed to the treasurer’s post two years ago by the commissioners, won election with 12,053 votes to Republican-turned-Democrat Aron Diaz’s 11,119 votes, according to the final unofficial tally.

And, in the campaign to replace Democrat Alberico, who is retiring after four terms as Clerk and Recorder, longtime clerk’s officer worker Jackie Harmon, a Republican, won over Democrat Becky Moller, 12,162 to 11,006.

In the commissioners’ race, Jankovsky, the former longtime general manager and part owner of Sunlight Mountain ski resort, and Gordon, a Glenwood native and an engineer with the firm SGM in Glenwood Springs, had differed some in their approach to addressing the housing crisis. In particular, Gordon said the county should take a regional approach and work with neighboring local governments to create more workforce housing. Jankovsky leaned toward a multi-tiered approach, leaning heavily on the private sector to build more housing stock and try to bring costs down.

Democratic Garfield County Commissioner District 1 candidate Ryan Gordon looks at the second round of numbers on a camputer at the Democratic watch party at the Bluebird Cafe on Tuesday night.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

“Housing was a big issue,” Jankovsky said, adding that it went hand in hand with concerns about inflation and the general cost of living. “The economy and inflation are also big concerns, and, for our economy to grow, we’re going to have to have housing.”

Gordon was not immediately available for comment on the latest election tally but said late Tuesday that housing was the major concern he heard from voters on the campaign trail.

“Affordable housing, and all the issues that come with that, was really what was driving people to vote in this election,” he said. “That, and all of the things that are weighing on people’s minds these days.”

Jankovsky took the opportunity to thank him for a clean election.

“I really appreciated him as an opponent,” he said. 

The win gives Jankovsky another four years in office and keeps the Garfield County commissioners 100% Republican. The seats of seven-term incumbent John Martin and four-term incumbent Mike Samson will be up in the 2024 election.

Garfield County saw 24,250 completed ballots returned for Tuesday’s election, for a turnout of 65.6%.

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