By the numbers
Routt County Commissioner District 1 Republican primary:
Jim “Moose” Barrows: 48.3 percent
Brita Horn 36.3 percent
Tony Stich 15.4 percent
Steamboat Springs Jim “Moose” Barrows easily won his first primary election Tuesday night.
But don’t call him a politician.
“And I’m not going to change to be one,” he said minutes after learning he had edged out candidates Tony Stich and Brita Horn to become the GOP’s top pick to succeed retiring Republican Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak.
Barrows won 48.3 percent of the vote. Horn followed with 36.3 percent and Stich with 15.4 percent.
The results are unofficial pending an audit of the vote July 5.
Barrows attributed his win to his deep Yampa Valley roots.
“Sixty years of living in Steamboat, 60 years of living the dream. That was it,” he said. “People know I’m passionate about life.”
In what proved to be a civil campaign, Barrows and his opponents largely agreed on most issues. They stressed the importance of oil and gas exploration in Routt County’s economy and said the personal property rights of landowners who own subsurface mineral rights should be better represented by the county as it negotiates with oil operators.
But it was Horn who was an early favorite in the race.
She was helped right out of the gates by Stahoviak’s endorsement.
Horn also was the only candidate to qualify for the primary ballot as a result of voting at that assembly. Forty-five of the assembly’s 82 delegates picked Horn over Stich and Barrows, but the two men quickly gathered the 105 signatures they needed to petition their way onto the ballot.
The candidates’ diverse backgrounds did set them apart, however.
Barrows, a famous downhill skier, has served as a Realtor for 40 years. The south valley resident developed and managed ski racing venues for 16 years.
Horn ran on her record as a member of the Routt County Planning Commission and a fire chief for the Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department. The former Westin Hotel Executive ranches in McCoy.
“We gave it a good, hard run,” Horn said Tuesday night. “We couldn’t have worked any harder. We were just really psyched about it. Now, it’s Moose’s turn.”
Stich, a longtime Stagecoach resident, served as a product manager for a company that develops products for refineries, petrochemical and power plants.
“I’m celebrating regardless,” Stich said after he learned he placed third in the primary. “I’m not surprised at all to see (Moose) take it. He’s been a very strong advocate for Steamboat for a long period of time.”
Barrows now will face South Routt School Board President Tim Corrigan, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
As Barrows was vying for his party’s nomination, Corrigan quietly was raising cash for the general election and reaching out to his constituents.
“We feel pretty good about our fundraising so far,” Corrigan said Tuesday afternoon, adding that he has raised about $5,000. “I’m looking forward to a good, hard campaign. I’ll be running on my record.”
Routt County voters will pick Stahoviak’s successor in November.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com