Wiggins wins Routt County GOP sheriff primary | SteamboatToday.com

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Wiggins wins Routt County GOP sheriff primary

All Crimes Enforcement Team commander will face Gary Wall

— Garrett Wiggins again will have the chance to face Gary Wall in the general election for Routt County sheriff after Wiggins defeated Nick Bosick in the Republican primary Tuesday night.

Wiggins won with 58 percent of the vote to Bosick's 42 percent, 1,308 votes to 963.

"It's been a lot of hard work," Wiggins said after he heard the announcement at the Routt County Courthouse at 7:40 p.m. Wiggins and his wife, Melinda, were waiting with supporters as Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland read the results. Wiggins, the All Crimes Enforcement Team commander, also won the nomination from the Republican Assembly on April 10.

Wiggins said this was a continuation of the quest for the Sheriff's Office that he started in May 2006, when he first decided to challenge Wall, who also was a newcomer at that time.

"I'm not a quitter, so I keep on keeping on," Wiggins said.

Melinda Wiggins said the unexpected primary race — Bosick said he would not seek election after the assembly but petitioned to get on the ballot — pushed them to raise more money and made for a busier summer than expected.

Wiggins and Bosick are employed by the Steamboat Springs Police Department and have said before that they're friends. Both men ran positive campaigns. Wiggins campaigned on the platform that he has more experience and more desire to win. He said he would like to finish his law enforcement career as sheriff and retire in the county.

At a gathering of family and friends at Freshies restaurant, Bosick said he ran because of encouragement from the community.

"He's got nothing to lose," said his wife, Jody Bosick. "He did it because the people wanted him to do it."

Bosick, a detective with the Police Department, said they worked hard for the nomination, but he congratulated Wiggins on his win.

Finances

During the primary, Bosick raised $5,538.05 as of Aug. 1, the last fundraising deadline, and had $2,646.67 left over. Wiggins raised nearly double that with $10,185, and had $5,217.92 left over.

Wall also has been raising money and declared a total of $3,862.85, including the $127.85 he had on hand before October. He spent $3,537 on advertising during the primary, which he said he expects to roll out in the coming weeks.

2006 election

Wall won with a 10-percentage-point margin against Wiggins in the 2006 general election, with 55 percent of the vote to Wiggins' 45 percent.

In that election, Wall campaigned on a platform of protecting residents' civil rights and said he would make it a priority to reduce turnover in the department.

Wall has encountered controversy since he started the job. He was arrested and convicted of driving while ability impaired and two related charges after he was pulled over in October 2007, and he has had run-ins with the Routt County Board of Commissioners about budget issues.

After Wall won the general election in 2006, Wiggins was appointed to lead the All Crimes Enforcement Team, then named GRAMNET. He had been an officer for the drug task force team before that.

Wiggins said this election would be different because voters know more about Wall.

Wiggins' ACET team also has run into controversy during his time as commander. Two officers in the multi-jurisdictional task force were prosecuted for misconduct allegedly committed while working for the task force.

Wall said Monday that he was excited for the Nov. 2 general election.

"I'm absolutely looking forward to this campaign, whoever my opponent is," he said. "It should be fun."

Wall outspent his competitors in the last campaign finance reporting period, from July 16 to Aug. 1, but he had less on hand at the end of the period. He spent the money on signs and advertising that he said he would roll out in preparation for the general election. Wall said he has held a fundraiser since then and has more money on hand.

During the 2006 election, Wiggins and Wall each raised more than $20,000.