Officials garner support

'Friends of Moffat County' join recall battle

Friends of Moffat County is the latest committee to join the Board of Commissioners recall election fray.

Chairman Dean Gent said the committee was formed to support the county government and combat the recall effort.

"We've joined to make a difference; to live in a community that is united and moving forward and not divided and arguing," Gent said.

Friends of Moffat County is the antithesis of the recall committee formed by members of Concerned Citizens of Moffat County -- a group that has been critical of the current county government. Whereas the latter group's goal is to remove Commissioners Marianna Raftopoulos and Les Hampton from office, the former group intends to see both commissioners finish their terms.

Friends of Moffat County's purpose is to "counter the negativism that permeates the community, news and news media and to support elected officials and volunteers," Gent said.

Friends of Moffat County filed with the Clerk and Recorder Office on Monday. Like all Moffat County political sponsors, they are required to periodically file contributions and expenditures with that office.

Also Monday, Raftopoulos picked up papers from the Clerk and Recorder Office to re-form Friends of Marianna Raftopoulos -- the committee that supported her during her two election campaigns and will now work to see she finishes her last 10 months of office.

Hampton has already filed papers for Friends of Les Hampton, the committee that is supporting his re-election bid.

Both sides of the recall are claiming the public is on their side. Linda Booker, chairperson of Concerned Citizens of Moffat County, said her group has met early success collecting signatures to recall Raftopoulos and Hampton. She did not know how many signatures have been collected so far.

But Raftopoulos said she has never had so much support as she's received since the recall committee filed on Feb. 19. She described the support as "overwhelming" and said people have told her they "don't even want to see a petition."

Earlier this week, Friends of Moffat County mailed a letter, penned by Hampton, to every registered voter in Moffat County. The letter responded to allegations of financial mismanagement by Concerned Citizens of Moffat County and invited anyone who wanted more information to call Raftopoulos or Hampton.

Gent said the group plans to take out radio and newspaper advertisements to combat the recall and support the commissioners.

At the same time, the Concerned Citizens are stepping up their drive for signatures, said Stan Hathhorn, a recall candidate for Raftopoulos's seat. The recall committee met Tuesday night with plans to "get more soldiers on the street with petitions in hand," Hathhorn said.

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

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