Steamboat Springs Routt County voters decided overwhelmingly Tuesday to keep coroner Rob Ryg in office.
Ryg has been the county’s coroner for the past seven years and was deputy coroner for the seven years before that. This election cycle was the first time he was contested for his seat. But Ryg easily held off challenges from Democrat Darrel Levingston and unaffiliated candidate Kevin Nerney to keep the job.
Ryg won 62.3 percent of the vote, compared with 33.2 percent for Levingston and 4.5 percent for Nerney. Ryg had received 5,578 votes compared with 2,970 for Levingston and 401 for Nerney.
“It feels good; it feels good,” Ryg said late Tuesday. “I’m very pleased. I’m excited that people are supporting me, and I feel like I’ve done a good job.”
The three candidates kept their campaigns positive, each highlighting their goals and experience. Levingston said he wanted to expand the role of coroner to include more outreach, particularly related to suicide prevention. Levingston also cited his background as an emergency medical technician and his 17 years with Routt County Search and Rescue.
Levingston said at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday that he was reluctant to concede without the mail votes tallied but acknowledged that because he was down more than 1,000 votes at the time, it was likely he would not win.
“Rob ran a great race,” he said. “It was actually a pleasure to run this election process and a lot of that is due to Rob and Kevin. ”
Nerney initially said he entered the race because he thought Ryg was retiring — a notion Ryg quickly dismissed. But Nerney stayed in the race, citing his experience working as a police officer and firefighter in New York City, which he left just weeks before the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
He accepted his defeat early Tuesday night.
“The public has spoken, as they say,” Nerney said.