Final Garfield County election tally seals seventh term for Commissioner John Martin; Soto applauds ‘historic’ voter turnout
In what ended up being a record voter turnout year for Garfield County, unofficial final election results released Friday handed an equally historic seventh Garfield County Commission term to John Martin.
After the remaining ballots that were in play following the Nov. 3 general election were counted, the long-time Republican incumbent came away with 14,718 votes to 14,217 for runner-up Beatriz Soto, the Democratic challenger, and 1,315 for unaffiliated candidate Brian Bark.
The 501-vote difference between Martin and Soto was not quite as close as Martin’s respective 365- and 229-vote wins over Democrats Stephen Bershenyi in 2008 and Greg Jeung in 2004, according to Garfield County Election archives and Post Independent files.
The margins of separation were 1.17% versus Jeung, 1.65% versus Soto and 1.67% versus Bershenyi.
The unofficial final results for Garfield County also confirmed the win for fellow Republican County Commissioner Mike Samson, who had 15,394 votes, or 51.7%, to Democrat Leslie Robinson’s 14,401, or 48.3%.
Garfield County also had a record 85.4% turnout, with 31,245 out of 36,582 possible ballots cast. That was up from just over 84% turnout in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Martin, in an earlier interview, called the close outcome between he and Soto a “great awakening,” and said it’s time to “find common ground” and to work through some of the issues that are so polarizing, both locally and on a state and national scale.
“I never hold anything against anyone, and I do want to learn from folks for the benefit of all our people here in Garfield County,” he said. “Now that the politics are over, it’s time to take care of people.”
Soto congratulated Martin on winning another term, and encouraged future candidates for county commissioner and other local offices to “connect with all their constituents, including Latinos and younger voters.”
“We joined a tough race late in the game and still made history,” she said.
“We had historic voter turnout in Garfield County, from left-leaning and progressive voters as well as Latino voters,” Soto said. “While many of us wanted a different outcome, I want to encourage the people that did not vote for the incumbent to stay positive, engage and allow ourselves to celebrate our wins.”
The final tally for Garfield County voting also confirmed that Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert of Rifle, though she won the overall Colorado 3rd Congressional District vote, lost in her own backyard to Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush.
Mitsch Bush had 15,531 votes in Garfield County to Boebert’s 13,756, for a 51% to 45% difference. A pair of third-party candidates picked up 3.8% of the county’s votes.
Boebert won the overall 3rd District race with 51.4% of the vote to Mitsch Bush’s 45.2%, Libertarian John Keil’s 2.4% and the Unity Party’s Critter Milton’s 1%.
Garfield County also followed the voting statewide and nationally in choosing Joe Biden over Donald Trump for President of the United States. Biden had 15,427 of the county’s votes (49.8%) to Trump’s 14,717 (47.5%).
The unofficial final results for the county are to be canvassed and certified as official this week.
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