Jankovsky declared winner in tight Garfield County commissioner race
UPDATE: With the final set of ballots tallied as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, incumbent Republican Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky held his 52 percent to 48 percent edge over Democractic challenger Paula Stepp in the race for the District 1 seat. The final, unofficial tally was 12,283 votes for Jankovsky and 11,411 for Stepp.
After what was a tight and sometimes contentious race throughout, the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners appears it will remain as is for now. Incumbent Republican Tom Jankovsky was well ahead in balloting late Tuesday over Glenwood Springs resident and Democrat Paula Stepp to retain his seat for the next four years.
“I want to continue what I’ve done as far as economic development,” Jankovsky, also from Glenwood, said after initial round of results indicated he would likely be the victor.
With roughly 75 percent of the ballots counted as of late Tuesday night, Jankovsky held a 52 percent to 48 percent edge over Stepp. However, there were still 3,520 ballots to be counted, Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico said. Counting was to resume Wednesday morning.
Jankovsky said this election was much closer than any election he’s been involved with in the past. He admitted he thought Stepp gained a lot of momentum over the summer, but ultimately cost herself the election with her decision to not oppose Proposition 112 related to oil and gas setbacks.
“Changed the entire campaign,” he said.
While the two candidates disagreed on a variety of issues, Proposition 112, which sought new setback regulations for the oil and gas industry and was shot down by voters on Tuesday, became an area of contention as Jankovsky felt it would hurt Colorado families.
“I leave it to each person to look at what it means to them,” Stepp said of Prop 112 at an October debate between the two in Rifle.
Stepp announced her bid for the seat in February and hoped to add a new voice to a conservative- leaning board.
According to Garfield County campaign finance reports, Stepp raised over twice as much in her bid for the commissioner seat compared to Jankovsky.
Stepp declined to comment until the results are more clear.
Jankovsky said he looks forward to continuing his promise to the Parachute area to get more transportation from Parachute into Rifle, despite statewide initiatives not passing.
He also plans to finish up sage grouse mapping discussions and to make sure that is done correctly while also focusing on certain trails and roadwork throughout the county.
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.