Dinner shakes up election races
Annual Lincoln Day event elicits candidate announcements, withdrawals
March 1, 2010
• John Ponikvar, Moffat County Republican Central Committee chairman
• Perry Buck spoke for her husband Ken Buck, candidate for the U.S. Senate
• J.J. Ament, candidate for state treasurer
• Callie Casey spoke for Ali Hassan, candidate for state treasurer
• Lori McInnis spoke for her husband Scott McInnis, candidate for Colorado governor
• Jeanie Durham spoke for Dan Maes, candidate for Colorado governor
• John Ponikvar read a letter from Moffat County commissioner Audrey Danner announcing her candidacy for District 2
• Mike Brinks, candidate for Moffat County treasurer
• Elaine Sullivan, candidate for Moffat County treasurer
• Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz, candidate for re-election
• Carol Scott, candidate for Moffat County assessor
• Peter Epp, candidate for Moffat County surveyor
• Kirk McKey, candidate for Moffat County coroner
As promised by John Ponikvar, Moffat County Republican Central Committee chairman, Saturday's Lincoln Day Dinner held many surprises.
Two candidates for the Moffat County Commission emerged, a county coroner candidate withdrew from the race and 17 other candidates spoke during the event held at the Holiday Inn of Craig.
More than 120 residents attended the dinner and raised about $3,200 for federal, state and local Republican candidates.
Commissioner Tom Mathers announced his candidacy for re-election, Tami Barnes announced her candidacy for the District 2 seat and K.C. Hume withdrew his bid for coroner.
Mathers, 60, will be seeking re-election for the District 3 seat in November.
He was a commissioner from 1988 to 1992 and has served on the commission since 2006.
Mathers said his 40-year background in business and previous experience as commissioner would enable him to continue serving the county well.
"A county is like a large business," he said. "We've seen good times financially and now tough times because of the economy. I want to see it through full circle.
"I take a lot of responsibility that when I leave office that it'll be in good shape for someone to take over."
Mathers, who was born and raised in Moffat County, has developed a relationship with the area.
"I have a life-long love of Moffat County," he said. "I feel I should be the one in there to carry us through this."
He said he stands for limited government, "bottom-up" politics and rural values.
Mathers plans to file candidate papers early this week.
Barnes, 45, a Republican, announced her candidacy for the commission District 2 seat and will be running against incumbent Audrey Danner, 57, who filed candidate papers Thursday.
This is Barnes' first time running for public office.
She is the chairwoman of the Moffat County Tea Party, a cattle rancher and longtime Colorado resident.
She has lived in Craig for four years and was a business owner for 20 years. She currently is a certified foster care parent.
Barnes said she wants to bring the "people back into the government."
"I believe in the constitution and in the people of Moffat County," she said. "Everyone has something to say, but they don't know where to say it. I want to be their voice."
She said the best qualities she can bring to the commission are her openness, clarity and willingness to listen to residents.
"With me, what you see is what you get," she said. "God gave me one mouth and two ears. I know when to use them both. There needs to be a lot more ears being used and a lot less mouth being ran."
Hume dropped his candidacy after discovering legislation that would require him to step away from his job at the Moffat County Sheriff's Office in order to run for public office.
Hume, an investigator at the Sheriff's Office and a battalion chief with Craig Fire/Rescue, pointed to the Hatch Act of 1939 and said he had "no choice in the matter."
"Despite my disappointment, I know it is the right thing to do," he said. "I have to look at myself in the mirror, and I have to look at the people in our community."
In her speech, Lila Herod, candidate for clerk and recorder, suspected that she also may be under the same regulations of the Hatch Act as the Moffat County elections supervisor.
Herod has asked the Office of Special Council for their recommendation on the matter but is still running.
Political issues addressed
Keynote speaker former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, R-Grand Junction, candidate for the U.S. Senate, discussed "taking back the pride in (the Republican) party." She also mentioned her "Western Slope values" including independence, entrepreneurship and compassion.
She finished by mentioning current issues facing government such as job creation, the "excessive federal spending."
Her thoughts about federal spending were echoed by Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, candidate for the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado who said, "It's time for Washington to tighten their belt." He also discussed local issues and the "need for John Salazar to come home."
State Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, and state Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, also spoke.
"The Republicans have the wind at their backs," White said. "The Democrats keep giving us ammunition to shoot back at them in November."
Baumgardner mentioned the everyday decisions he makes in office, while still looking out for rural areas. He also discussed the energy, water, tourism and agriculture issues of the state.
Ponikvar said the event was a success and had "the best turnout in recent years."
Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or email@example.com.