Hathhorn announces candidacy

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After saying he would not run in a recall election, Stan Hathhorn has announced his candidacy for the District 2 Moffat County Board of Commissioners seat.

Hathhorn, a vocal critic of Moffat County government, said he was running because he could find no one else to run for the seat. Furthermore, he sees his candidacy as a way to become part of the solution to problems he has been pointing out for the past two years.

"I don't see anybody else out there to do it," he said. He will run as an independent.

The Concerned Citizens of Moffat County filed recall petitions for Commissioners Marianna Raftopou-los and Les Hampton on Feb. 19. That group has 60 days to collect 972 signatures to recall Raftopoulos and 1,306 signatures to recall Hampton. To initiate a recall, the committee must collect signatures equaling 25 percent of the votes cast for that candidate in the last election.

If the recall is successful, Hathhorn will face Raftopoulos in a recall election.

Hathhorn could also be facing Raftopoulos in the courtroom. Raftopoulos is suing Hathhorn and Jeff Taylor, another outspoken critic of the commission, for $250,000, accusing them of harassment, slander and defamation.

Hathhorn has said he finds the lawsuit "kind of humorous." It hasn't dissuaded him from attempting to replace Raftopoulos in office.

After announcing his candidacy, Hathhorn has 10 days to file committee papers with the Clerk and Recorder Office.

In December, when the Daily Press asked Hathhorn about his political ambitions, he replied, "How about I make an unequivocal no as to my county ambitions."

Hathhorn said he's spent a lot of time thinking about that statement during the last six weeks as he began to seriously consider running in the recall election. But he said many people have asked him to run and have pledged financial and campaign support. He declined to say who they are.

Raftopoulos said Hathhorn's announcement just confirms what she's believed about Hathhorn all along.

"All the information he has been saying is all for his political gain," Raftopoulos said.

Yet Hathhorn said he has no strong desire to run for office. He has been working since he was 13 years old, and would like to enjoy his retirement. But he believes he is qualified for the job. The county needs someone with a business background, he said, and he fills that requirement as owner of Magnum Metals.

The county can't afford to wait until November's general election to elect new commissioners, Hathhorn said.

"We don't need the same crew making the 2005 budget. We need to get the county back on firm financial footing with some reserves," he said.

If elected, Hathhorn said he would replenish county reserves by cutting expenses. He would look at cutting services that the county could outsource to the private sector through a bidding process, and he specifically cited the legal department as one such department that could be outsourced.

Hathhorn said he would also cut the Natural Resources Department. County commissioners have already cut that department's personnel by 50 percent to balance the 2004 budget, eliminating the natural resources specialist position.

But Hathhorn said he would look closely at services that benefit Moffat County citizens and find ways to continue those services without the Natural Resources Department.

If elected in the recall election, Hathhorn said he feels it would be "necessary to run again in November."

Later this week, someone else should announce their candidacy for Hampton's District 1 seat, said members of Concerned Citizens of Moffat County.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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