Routt County sheriff race showdown is Saturday

Field could narrow with 3 Republicans vying for votes at assembly

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Garrett Wiggins

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David Smith Jr.

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Nick Bosick

County assemblies

■ Democrats

When: 12:30 p.m. sign-in, 1 p.m. start Saturday

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center

■ Republicans

When: 11:30 a.m. sign-in, 12:30 p.m. start Saturday

Where: Gymnasium in Colorado Mountain College’s Bristol Hall, Bob Adams Drive

— There’s at least one thing Routt County’s three Republi­can candidates for sheriff agree on: If they don’t get enough votes from party delegates Saturday, they’d likely drop out of the race rather than try to petition onto the August primary election ballot.

Simple math shows such a scenario is probable for at least one of the three.

Local Republican and Democratic parties have their county assemblies Saturday. Both events include the selection of delegates for state assemblies next month, discussion of platform issues, and remarks from candidates or their representatives in local, regional and statewide races.

The Routt County Demo­cratic Party’s assembly begins at 1 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The Routt County Republican Central Committee’s assembly begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Colorado Mountain College Alpine Cam­­pus gymnasium in Bristol Hall. Both parties are encouraging delegates to arrive early to sign in and be credentialed.

As the only county race that could see a primary, the Republican race for sheriff should be the highlight of the day.

At CMC’s gymnasium, 87 Republican delegates will cast a vote for either Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Nick Bosick, All Crimes Enforcement Team Cmdr. Garrett Wiggins or Routt County Rifle Club President David Smith Jr. Each candidate needs at least 30 percent of those votes to get on the ballot for an August primary.

Because 30 percent of 87 is 26.1, a candidate will need 27 votes to get on the ballot.

“It always rounds up when you’re talking votes,” Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said Thursday.

Jack Taylor, chairman of the county Republican Party, noted that the number of delegates could drop in the credentialing process, but the maximum of 87 should be reached with alternates.

Stranger things have happened, but it’s fair to say the likelihood of each sheriff candidate receiving 27 or more votes is slim.

If a candidate receives less than 30 percent but more than 10 percent of votes, that candidate can petition to be on the August ballot. But in the sheriff’s race, a petition effort is unlikely.

“I don’t think so,” Smith Jr. said about whether he would petition should the votes not go his way. “I don’t want to close that door, but the reality is that without the support of the party, it’s going to be a very uphill battle. … We’ll wait and see.”

Wiggins, who lost the general election to Democrat Gary Wall in 2006, put his feeling about a petition effort in more absolute terms.

“No. Absolutely not,” he said Thursday. “If I can’t get on at the assembly … then I think it would just be a waste of time and effort and I would much rather see the people who do support me support one of the other candidates.”

Bosick also spoke about party unity as a reason for not petitioning onto the ballot if the scenario arose.

“It seems to me that if any one of us doesn’t make the ballot because of the 30 percent, we should probably step down and allow the other two to continue on to the primary,” Bosick said. “We can’t have all three of us going to the primary — really, (the Republican Party) should only be supporting one of the three of us. I think that’s what it’s going to take to win the general election.”

If a candidate receives less than 10 percent of the votes Saturday — meaning eight votes or fewer — that candidate cannot petition and is ineligible for the August primary.

Catherine Carson, chairwoman of Routt County Dem­ocrats, has said her party will select 26 delegates Saturday to send to the party’s state convention May 22 in Broomfield. Taylor has said Republicans will send 19 delegates to their state convention May 22 in Loveland. The number of delegates is based on the county’s registered voters in the last presidential election.

Lynn Abbott, of the Routt County Democrats, noted that on Saturday the party will select delegates for the state assembly who likely will be “somewhat divided” between U.S. Senate candidates Michael Bennet and Andrew Romanoff. Sen. Bennet is the incumbent facing a challenge from Romanoff, a former state Speaker of the House.

In party caucuses last month, local Democrats supported Rom­­­anoff instead of Bennet by a margin of 54 percent to 31 percent, with 177 total votes cast. Nearly 15 percent of local Democrats were undecided.

Taylor said new Republican candidates could emerge Sat­urday but declined to specify who they might be, or for what races.

“We’re getting all fired up for (the assembly) — there’s a lot of interest and a lot of excitement,” he said. “There could be a couple of surprises.”

Members of the public are invited to attend both assemblies but cannot vote unless they are delegates.

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