Commissioner race in Garfield County shapes up as top-dollar affair
As Garfield County voters should now have ballots in hand, the challenger in the hotly contested District 1 county commissioner race, Paula Stepp, also has more money on hand to help make her case against the two-term incumbent, Tom Jankovsky.
Campaign finance reports due to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office earlier this week disclosed that Stepp, a Democrat, has accepted $44,122 in her bid to unseat Republican Jankovsky, who reported campaign funds totaling $18,475 as of Oct. 16 filing date.
With a little more than two weeks to go for voters to return their ballot by the Nov. 6 election deadline, the race for the single commissioner seat that is up this year is shaping up as the most expensive area contest.
So far, however, the numbers still pale in comparison to the 2010 election when Jankovsky was first elected over then-two-term-incumbent Tresi Houpt. That year, Jankovsky pulled in more than $79,700 in campaign contributions, to Houpt’s $56,564.
The final pre- and post-election filings will tell if this year’s campaigns will come anywhere close to those numbers.
Four years ago, Jankovsky raised $48,213 in his bid for re-election over Democrat Michael Sullivan, who took in $12,782, according to Secretary of State filings in the statewide TRACER system.
And, in the only contested county commissioner race two years ago, District 2 Commissioner John Martin raised $21,030 in his bid for a sixth term over Democratic challengers John Acha, who took in just $6,586.
To date, through the Oct. 16 filing, Stepp had received approximately 100 individual contributions from suppoters, ranging from less than $20 to a single contribution of $1,000 from Gayle Embry of Glenwood Springs.
Other top donors included Anne and David Nicholson of New Castle, $600; Charmaine Locke of Basalt, $500; former commissioner Houpt, $489; and Jody Lyons of Parachute, for whom cash and in-kind contributions of $499, $400, $80 and $50, were listed in the report.
To date, Stepp had spent $26,752 on the usual campaign expenses, including advertising, yard signs and other campaign materials. She still had $17,370 in the bank for the final push.
In his report, Jankovsky lists fewer individual donors overall, at 54 to date since the beginning of his campaign, but larger dollar amounts per donor.
Several $1,000 donors to the Jankovsky campaign have included Larry Lorentson of Glenwood Springs, John McGary and Paul Bushong of Carbondale, and one from Richard Schafstall of Nashville, Tenn.
In addition, $500 contributions came from Rich Dunstan, Mike Fattor, Ken Kriz and Paul Nelson of Glenwood Springs, Sam Potter of Rifle, Carrie Couey of Silt, Hazel Bodnar of Nashville, and James McIntyre of Indiana,
As of the Oct. 16 filing, Jankovsky had spent $13,889 and still had $5,197 on hand.
other area RACES
The numbers are somewhat smaller in two other contested races in Garfield County, including for county Clerk and Recorder and the House District 57 race, which also takes in Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
In the clerk’s race, challenger Bonnie McLean, a Republican, has taken in $13,939 in her bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Jean Alberico, who had accepted $4,015 in campaign contributions, as of the Oct. 16 filing.
In the House race, Republican incumbent Bob Rankin had accepted $20,367 to Democrat Colin Wilhelm’s $6,127.
And, in the somewhat under-the-radar race for Garfield County Sheriff, declared write-in candidate Paramroop Khalsa, a Democrat, has not reported any campaign contributions or spending, while incumbent Republican Sheriff Lou Vallario reports $500 in contributions.
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“I feel I have the opportunity to go out and work for the people, and represent the people directly,” Wilhelm said.