Voter deadline creeps forward

Residents can register to vote in the primary election until July 10

The races will be interesting, if for no other reason than there will be races.

Two Moffat County Board of Commissioner seats are under contention and that's before the general election in November.

The names of four Craig residents will appear on the Aug. 8 primary election ballot. All candidates are members of the Republican party, so they must face off in the primary election. Only one member from each party can run in the general election.

Squaring off in a battle over the District 1 Moffat County Commissioner seat are rancher Les Hampton and business owner Pam Foster. The two hope to be elected to the seat being voluntarily vacated by Commissioner Joe Janosec.

The winner of the primary election will face Democratic candidate Willy Georgiou in the Nov. 7 general election.

Fighting for possession of the District 2 seat are incumbent Marianna Raftopoulos and newcomer Jim Hixon. There is no Democratic candidate for the seat, so the primary election will determine the next District 2 Moffat County Commissioner.

Voters almost had a choice on who would hold the District 8 Senate seat. Rep. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, will lose his House seat this year because of term limits. He hopes to remain in politics by transferring to the Senate.

His opponent, Jim "Moose" Barrows, also a Steamboat Springs resident, did not get the votes necessary to secure a place on the ballot.

Taylor will run against Kremmling resident, Paul Ohri, in the general election.

District 8 covers seven Western Slope counties, Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Eagle and Grand.

Voters will not have a choice for the 57th House District in the primary election. Glenwood Springs resident Scott Rippy is the only Republican on the ballot.

Craig resident Kirk Schott had hoped to oppose Rippy in the primary election, but like Barrows, did not get enough votes at the Republican convention to make the ballot.

Republican Paul McLimans is running unopposed as the incumbent for the 14th Judicial District Attorney seat and Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., is running unopposed to retain his seat as a United States Congressman for the District 3 congressional seat.

Residents who want to vote in the primary election must register to vote or change their party affiliation by July 10.

People can register to vote at a county clerk office, driver's license office, municipal clerk's office and at several human services agencies.

There are 9,021 registered voters in Moffat County, 4,415 of which are Republican and 1,978 are Democrat. Constituents can only vote for candidates affiliated with the same party in the primary election. Unaffiliated voters must declare a party at the voting booth. There are 2,620 unaffiliated voters in Moffat County.

Moffat County Deputy Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod expects ballots to be in by July 7 and plans to mail them out to absentee voters around July 10. To get an absentee ballot, call the Clerk and Recorder's Office at 824- 9104.

Early voting will be from July 31 to Aug. 4. Voters can pick up a ballot at the Clerk and Recorder's Office.

Herod expects a good turnout for this primary election.

"It's a race on both commissioner districts so I think it'll be a good race," she said.

Herod ordered nearly 5,000 ballots for the primary election. She based that number on the 1998 primary race because the District 3 County Commissioner seat and the position as Moffat County Sheriff were both contested. That race had a turnout of 3,309.

"We figure that if we get out and educate people and the candidates get out and encourage people to vote, we'll have a higher turnout," Herod said.

Ballots cost nearly $5 each. There are several other election expenses including paying election judges and having the vote tally machine calibrated. Herod estimates this primary election will cost the county approximately $16,000.

"It gets pretty expensive," she said.

The state may reimburse the county for a portion of its election costs.

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