Kelly Hatten gives Craig voters write-in option for mayoral election
Craig residents not happy with the two choices for mayor in the upcoming April 2 municipal election have another option as of Thursday, March 21.
Kelly Hatten, a small business owner in Craig, officially filed his affidavit Thursday to run as a write-in candidate for mayor of Craig. Hatten will face current Councilman Jarrod Ogden and incumbent Mayor John Ponikvar.
In an interview Thursday, Hatten said he doesn’t like the two choices for mayor, and though he said he had planned to wait two more years to run with his name on the ballot, he recently decided he didn’t want to wait anymore.
“l’m not a politician,” Hatten said. “I’m just an average person trying to do the best we can for the community we live in.”
Hatten questioned the city’s recent decision to switch to a monochloramine disinfectant in the city’s water supply.
“It seems like the option being chosen is the cheapest route possible,” Hatten said of the city’s recent water decisions. “Well, the cheapest route may not be the best choice.”
Hatten also said he wants to help facilitate a recreation center for Craig residents similar to the center in Meeker.
“We need to figure out a way to be able to build a rec center and have a rec center in Craig,” Hatten said. “If we don’t, we are going to lose our younger generation. They’re gonna end up leaving our community.”
Hatten also said he wants recreational marijuana in Craig and the tax revenue that will come with it.
“It needs to get back on the ballot,” Hatten said.
In an interview Thursday, Sherman Romney, Craig’s city attorney, said residents who haven’t yet voted can come to the city clerk’s office at the county courthouse beginning Monday, March 25, and get a ballot with a write-in area.
The city will also be mailing residents a notice of the write-in option.
“We’re going to issue a notice of instruction for people who want to vote for a write-in candidate,” Romney said.
Those residents who have already voted can’t vote again, Romney said.
“If people have already voted, the law is pretty clear their vote has already happened, and they’re not able to change their vote,” Romney said.
The reprinting of ballots won’t cost much. Romney said mailing out notices to all eligible Craig voters will be the greatest expense, though no cost estimates were available Thursday.
The city should have most of the notices mailed out by Friday, March 22, according to Romney, who added residents wishing to write-in their candidate must write in Kelly Hatten’s name, or their vote won’t count.
“If they put another name down, it basically nullifies their vote, because that vote cannot be counted,” Romney said.
Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@CraigDailyPress.com.