Jankovsky retains Garfield commissioner seat | PostIndependent.com

Jankovsky retains Garfield commissioner seat

Nancy, Tom and Eva Jankovsky hug on Nov. 4 after finding out he was re-elected as county commissioner for District 1 in Garfield County, defeating Democratic candidate Michael Sullivan.
Christopher Mullen / Post Independent |

Republican Tom Jankovsky easily won re-election to a second four-year term as Garfield County commissioner representing District 1 Tuesday, out-polling Democratic challenger Michael Sullivan with close to 59 percent of the countywide vote, according to unofficial final results of the election.

“My platform was primarily on the economy and jobs, and I think this shows that’s still the number one concern in Garfield County,” said Jankovsky, the former general manager and part owner of Sunlight Mountain Resort.

“If we don’t have jobs, you have people worrying about unemployment and losing their house, and everything that goes with that,” he said at a gathering of Republican supporters at the Ramada Inn Tuesday night. “It is still an important issue for Garfield County.”

Sullivan, an appointed alternate member of the county’s planning commission for six years, said he was disappointed with the outcome, but not surprised.

“I can tell you honestly that I thought our message was clear,” Sullivan said of his campaign for tighter county regulation over the oil and gas industry and more of a voice for the public in land-use decisions.

Sullivan also argued that the county commission, with three Republican commissioners, should be more diverse in its make-up, not only from a partisan standpoint but in the interest of the District 1 constituents on the eastern end of the county.

“I talked to so many people on the campaign trail who thought that indeed it was time for a change,” he said.

Sullivan said he will be anxious to see the post-election precinct breakdown of the balloting, and how voters within District 1, which includes the Carbondale area and the southern portion of Glenwood Springs, voted in the commissioner race.

Though each county commissioner must live within a geographic district, they are elected countywide.

“My whole point was that I thought I represented District 1 more than Tom,” Sullivan said.

Jankovsky called Sullivan a “one-issue candidate,” focused on land use and local control over oil and gas activity. But in talking to constituents, he said residents are concerned about a host of issues, which again tie back to economic concerns.

“I will continue to work with business to try to grow jobs, and I think that is very important,” Jankovsky said. “That includes working with the Latino community, which is about 30 percent of our populace.”

The margin of victory for Jankovsky was one of the largest in a county commissioner race in recent history, in what has become a stronghold for Republican candidates.

In 2012, fellow Republican commissioners John Martin and Mike Samson won re-election to their seats by margins of 52 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

Jankovsky, in his successful bid in 2010 to unseat Democratic Commissioner Tresi Houpt, garnered 54 percent of the vote to Houpt’s 46 percent.

Sullivan said he intends to stay active in county politics, and will work to help recruit Democratic candidates in future elections. He said his defeat Tuesday likely was influenced by the “Republican wave” that swept across Colorado and much of the country.


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