Saed Tayyara was awake at 1:30 a.m. on Election Day, too nervous to sleep.
But as the first precincts reported, it quickly became apparent Tayyara had nothing to worry about in his bid to replace Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos for Moffat County Commissioner District 2.
With five of 14 precincts reporting, which accounts for 46 percent of registered Moffat County voters, Tayyara, a Republican, led unaffiliated candidate Stan Hathhorn, by a 2 to 1 margin.
"To me it's really an honor and privilege they went out and voted," Tayyara said of his supporters.
The victory ended a long day for Tayyara. Continuing his proud tradition of casting the first ballot in Moffat County on Election Day, Tayyara was in line at the Centennial Mall at 3 a.m.
Tayyara has served on the Craig City Council and as mayor. He is coming out of retirement to serve as county commissioner.
His election marks the first time a former City Councilman or mayor has served as county commissioner since 1978.
Tayyara campaigned on a platform of communication and cooperation. He has promised to improve relations between the Moffat County Board of Commissioners and the Craig City Council and to develop cooperative agreements between the two entities to consolidate services.
"People told me they want to see good relations with the city, and I hope to make it happen," Tayyara said.
Tayyara immigrated here from Syria. While living under a totalitarian regime in the Middle East, he said he was tortured for speaking in favor of free elections. That experience instilled a love of democracy in Tayyara at an early age.
He has lived in the Yampa Valley for the past 30 years. During that time, he operated the Redstone Motel in Hayden and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Craig. He has a son, a daughter and one grandchild.
Tayyara has attended commissioner meetings for the past three years.
However, he didn't intend to run for commissioner when he began attending them, he said.
He only decided to run for office last year when several county residents requested he do so.
Reiterating his campaign platform, Tayyara said he would maintain a balanced budget, improve capital reserves, contingency and trust funds, continue education for county employees, and replace Road and Bridge Department equipment.
He would like to look into converting county property, such as the courthouse annex on West Victory Way, into assets, returning such property to the tax rolls by selling it.
Hathhorn, owner of Craig business Magnum Metals, campaigned on a platform of fixing county roads and paying the bills.
He was the only commissioner candidate who didn't make an appearance at the courthouse Tuesday night.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.