Eagle County sheriff ousted in Tuesday’s voting | PostIndependent.com

Eagle County sheriff ousted in Tuesday’s voting

James Van Beek
Wendy Griffith Photography |

Coloradans made choices in three congressional primaries, a gubernatorial contest, sheriff’s races and a fracking moratorium in Tuesday’s primaries.


James van Beek beat longtime Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy in the Republican primary. Hoy has served as sheriff for 12 years and was seeking his last term.

Van Beek garnered 1,337 votes to Hoy’s 890. It’s a turnaround from the general election four years ago when Hoy edged van Beek by 119 votes.

Van Beek now faces Democrat Daric Harvey in the November election.

“I want to thank Sheriff Hoy for 25 years of service to our community. I want to wish Joe and Linda Hoy the very best,” Van Beek said after results were in.

Hoy has been with the Eagle County law enforcement community for 25 years, and sheriff for 12 of those years.

Van Beek has spent much of the past few years building police departments in war-torn Kosovo and Afghanistan. He served three and a half years in Kosovo as part of the United Nations mission. He was a police officer and senior shift supervisor, chief of operations and chief of police in the Kaminicia area on the Serbian/Kosovo border. He spent another four years in Afghanistan doing essentially the same thing. Before that he served four years in the Army.

Harvey oversees the Vail Police Department’s operations division. He was formerly with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department in Central Florida and has more than 18 years of law enforcement experience.

In other sheriff races:

• In Montezuma County, challenger Steve Nowlin beat Sheriff Dennis Spruell for the Republican nomination. Spruell had to petition onto the ballot after failing to win a spot through the caucus system.

• State Sen. Steve King will be the GOP candidate seeking to replace outgoing Sheriff Stan Hilkey in strongly Republican Mesa County. The Daily Sentinel reports that King beat the self-proclaimed constitutional candidate, John Pennington, despite the release of a report that found he had filed misleading timecards while working as a temporary department employee.


Loveland voters rejected a proposed fracking moratorium that would have made it the sixth Front Range community to limit or ban hydraulic fracturing. The two-year moratorium failed by about 1,000 votes out of nearly 23,000 ballots cast, 10,844 to 9,942.


Two-term Congressman Scott Tipton easily won the Republican primary election for the 3rd Congressional District, the state’s largest, encompassing most of western Colorado in a district about the size of Arkansas.

Tipton overcame an anti-incumbent campaign in Tuesday’s primary from Mesa County tea party activist David Cox.

Tipton is a former pottery dealer and state lawmaker from Cortez who was first elected in 2010.

In November, Tipton will face former state Sen. Abel Tapia of Pueblo, who was unopposed Tuesday.

In other districts:

• Onetime U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck is likely headed to Washington after winning Tuesday night’s Republican nomination to represent Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, a vast energy-producing and agricultural region stretching across the state’s eastern Plains.

Buck handily defeated three competitors for the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Cory Gardner.

The fortunes of Gardner and Buck have been intertwined this year. Buck was planning on running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, but dropped out and ran for Gardner’s seat instead. Gardner, seen as a better candidate by national Republicans, is the GOP’s nominee against Udall.

• Colorado’s hardest-fought Republican congressional primary was in the 5th district, centered in Colorado Springs. Rep. Doug Lamborn defeated retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn by 5 percentage points.

Lamborn, seeking his fifth term, struggled to raise money. Rayburn publicized a fundraising visit to Colorado by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was ousted this month by a little-known challenger in Virginia. Lamborn remains the favorite against Democrat Irv Halter, also a retired Air Force major general, in the overwhelmingly Republican district in November.

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