It was still early in the evening Tuesday when it became evident that Tom Gray and Saed Tayyara would win the Republican nominations for county commissioner.
Gray, a rancher from north of Craig, unseated Commissioner Les Hampton in District 1 with a landslide victory of 1,562 votes to 653 votes. Gray carried every precinct except Dinosaur. The candidates tied there, with 18 votes each.
Former Craig mayor Tayyara defeated Michael Anthony, a deputy with the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, in District 2, winning 1,357 votes to Anthony's 801 votes. Tayyara won every precinct except Precinct 2.
"The people spoke. I appreciate their support and I hope to carry their support to the general election," Tayyara said.
Gray declined to say much about his victory, but he commended Hampton for running a positive campaign.
Gray and Tayyara had both been waiting in the Moffat County Courthouse hallway as election officials posted the results of each precinct's vote. Shortly before 9 p.m., Hampton entered and surveyed the results of the reporting precincts. Gray had beaten him by at least 60 percent in most precincts.
Hampton congratulated Gray and shook his hand, and Gray told him he ran a good campaign.
"We both did," Hampton said, then quickly left the courthouse. Gray quietly celebrated his victory, eating an ice cream sundae with his wife, Brenda, and some campaign supporters.
Gray said he tried to run a positive campaign, asking voters if they favored staying the course the current commissioners were heading, or if they preferred a change of course. A change of course would mean a change of faces, he told voters.
Gray's platform focused on smaller government and sound financial management. He promised to be open with county residents, so that if the county's financial situation deteriorated, residents would know before the situation reached a crisis stage.
Tayyara ran on his experience of creating agreements between Moffat County and Craig when he was mayor of the city. If elected commissioner, he promises to attempt to improve the working relationship between the county and city. Both men plan to continue attending county commissioner meetings to stay on top of current issues, but they plan to relax from campaigning for the next few days.
Gray will face Democrat Terry Carwile, a miner at Trapper Mine, in the general election. Carwile, who was unopposed for the District 1 Democrat nomination, won 376 votes.
Tayyara will face Stan Hathhorn, an independent commissioner candidate. Hathhorn, owner of Magnum Metals in Craig, filed a petition to run for commissioner earlier this summer. He did not participate in the primary election because he's a registered independent.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.