Steamboat Springs Steve Ivancie is no good at hiding his emotions. With one precinct left to be counted and a 16-vote lead in a race that had flip-flopped all night, Ivancie paced back and forth down the long hallway of the Routt County Courthouse. He hugged his daughter. He smiled at his wife. He sat. He got back up. He waited.
And then, as he watched a county worker tape the final results sheet to the wall, he won.
With a decisive victory in Precinct 2, Ivancie pulled out the win for the council's two-year at-large seat. The vote fell 1,204 to 1,159, registering a slim 1.6 percent difference.
"I'm a little numb to tell you the truth," Ivancie said as he was congratulated by his wife and friends and given a cigar by his brother.
Ivancie, like some of the other candidates in the race, identified this election as a competition between business community interests and the interests of the rest of the town. But of the slate of four candidates purportedly not influenced by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, at least as they were portrayed in recent advertisements, Ivancie was the only one to get elected. Ivancie called the results "bittersweet" because he was sad to see others he has supported, such as Ken Brenner, leave the council.
He has portrayed himself as a working-class candidate, modeling himself on the example of departing Councilman Jim Engelken, the council's strongest affordable-housing advocate.
But as Engelken and Councilman Ken Brenner, who lost his bid for re-election, prepared to leave the council, Ivancie realized he might be a bit lonely in his new role.
"I have some very big shoes to fill and I'm going to do my best," he said.
Kathi Meyer, Ivancie's opponent, said she had hoped the community would gel to her message of moderacy and bringing the community together.
"We don't need two groups being pitted against each other," she said.
She wanted to thank her husband and manager, Jim Peterson, for his help in her campaign.
Meyer is the chairwoman of the Planning Commission and will continue her strong involvement in community affairs.