Westendorff prevails at caucuses

Local Democrats had more than 250 attend

Delegates at Democratic caucuses in La Plata County showed a clear preference for Julie Westendorff as their candidate for District 3 county commissioner.

During the caucuses Tuesday night, 100 nonbinding delegates where appointed from 30 precincts, said Britt Bassett, La Plata County Democrats third vice chairman, who is responsible for the party database.

Eighty-five delegates voted in favor of Westendorff, while five voted for David Black, who also is running for the seat. Ten are uncommitted.

Black and Westendorff are vying for the seat held by Democrat Wally White, who is term limited.

White defeated Black in a race for the job eight years ago.

In District 2, Democrat Gwen Lachelt is challenging current Commissioner Kellie Hotter, a Republican, for the seat.

The District 1 seat, held by Commissioner Bobby Lieb, a Republican, is not up for election.

“This is an off year for Democrats because our presidential candidate is uncontested within our party.The presidential preference poll is a formality,” Laura Godfrey, from Precinct 30, said.

Of the 100 delegates, 99 voted for Barack Obama while one delegate voted “uncommitted,” during the preference poll.

“There was overwhelming support for the president,” Godfrey said. “There were really strong feelings that the Republican party has gone too far right and that as Democrats, we hold the central ground.”

Party chairwoman Denise Bohemier said caucus attendance – 256 party members showed up – exceeded what was expected.

The appointed delegates will attend the party’s county assembly at 9 a.m. March 17 at Berndt Hall at Fort Lewis College.

pblank@durangoherald.com

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