Steamboat Springs With several days remaining in the primary elections, Routt County has had 26 percent of ballots returned, already surpassing the 12 percent turnout in the 2006 primary.
Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said about 9,000 primary ballots have been issued and that voters have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to turn in the ballot. Unaffiliated voters also can announce an affiliation by that time and cast a ballot.
According to campaign finance reports filed July 20, GOP sheriff’s candidates Garrett Wiggins and Nick Bosick are nearly matched in campaign fundraising.
Wiggins reported $4,835.39 to Bosick’s $4,395.19.
Even so, Wiggins has far outspent Bosick, using all of his money and an additional $35, while Bosick still has $2,638 in the bank.
Bosick has donated about $201 to his own campaign, according to the reports, and Wiggins has given about $285.
Wiggins’ contributions came from 11 people by the deadline, not including himself. The largest contribution, $2,000, came from Wiggins’ father, John Wiggins. Bosick’s contributions came from 24 donors. Bosick’s biggest donor was his co-worker, Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Gerard Geis, who donated $597.10 in money and food purchases for Bosick.
Both men said they were happy with their donations to date, and Bosick said he has recently been turning away donors because he wants to wait until after the primary to spend more money on the campaign. Wiggins agreed that he would wait until after the primary to start more fundraising.
“Actually, at this point in time, I have done zero fundraising,” Wiggins said. He said that if he wins the primary, he will hold one large fundraising event at the end of August that he hopes would propel him through the campaign.
Bosick said his fundraising style also represents his view of the campaign.
“Even if it’s $20, $15, I think that’s what this whole thing is about,” he said. “I’ve stated from the beginning it’s not about the party, it’s about the people. I think the contributions mimic that.”
The next campaign contribution reporting deadline is Friday.
The sheriff’s race is the only contested local primary in Routt County. The two candidates have said they are friends and have kept positive campaigns. Both men appeared reluctant to attack each other in joint appearances and instead focused on their differences with incumbent Democrat Gary Wall.
When asked to define their differences with their competitor, Wiggins said his desire to win is the most prominent difference. Wiggins ran against Wall in 2006.
“I think one of the main reasons is that I’ve been working toward becoming the sheriff of Routt County for five years,” he said. “It’s not Johnny-come-lately encouragement I’ve been getting from individuals; this is something I’m passionate about.”
Wiggins said he would like to end his law enforcement career as sheriff and retire in Routt County with his family.
Bosick said that although Wiggins has more years in law enforcement, his accomplishments still outweigh his opponent’s.
“I’m having a hard time campaigning against my friend Garrett Wiggins, and I don’t want to discredit anything he’s accomplished in his career, but there is a huge difference in the things we have accomplished,” he said. “We’re talking about supervision, and leadership roles in the roles we’ve both served are both very, very different.”
Bosick, now a detective with the Police Department, is a former sergeant. In that role, he oversaw a team of officers. Wiggins, the All Crimes Enforcement Team commander, points to his experience working for cigar maker Swisher International in Florida. Bosick said the experience is not comparable.
“Supervising civilians is very different than supervising cops,” he said, “They have very different responsibilities.”
Bosick also said he had more experience with large groups of officers.
“He supervises two people. I think the most he ever supervised is three,” he said. “That’s not his fault, but that’s what his experience is.”
Wiggins said his experience also includes managing budgets. He said he has 10 years more experience than Bosick and seven years as an administrator, with “proven experience as far as management goes.”
— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org