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Southwest Colorado voters weigh in

Montezuma County sheriff ousted

In a primary election that political pundits have been watching to see what augurs for November in Colorado’s gubernatorial race, the biggest surprises may have been more local, with two upsets in Montezuma County.

Sitting Sheriff Dennis Spruell went down to challenger Steve Nowlin by more than 700 votes, and James Lambert beat Jim Candelaria for the Republican spot for county commissioner by less than 300 votes. Spruell and Lambert had to petition their way onto the primary ballot after losing in the caucus.

All results reported Tuesday will be unofficial until the canvass is complete.

Most candidates in the Republican Party and all of the candidates for the Democratic Party were running unopposed in La Plata County.

La Plata County clerk’s initial numbers show 3,405 of 12,983 registered Republicans voted for a 26.2 percent turnout rate, and 2,442 of 12,950 registered Democrats voted for an 18.9 percent turnout rate. Some voters did not select a candidate in all the races.

Here are the La Plata County results, which were available shortly before 9 p.m., for contested races:

Republican governor

Mike Kopp – 1,001 votes

Bob Beauprez – 836

Tom Tancredo – 734

Scott Gessler – 638

Republican 3rd U.S. Congressional District

Scott Tipton – 2,647

David Cox – 669

Republican Board of Education

Marcia Neal – 1,504

Barbara Ann Smith – 1,182

Montezuma County

Montezuma County had several contested races, including sheriff and commissioner, that were hard fought. About 3,800 ballots were cast.

Sheriff Dennis Spruell was not nominated by the Republican caucuses this spring and had to petition to get on the primary ballot after his opponent, Steve Nowlin garnered 76 caucus votes to Spruell’s 36. Republicans told Spruell they meant it, selecting Nowlin to be the Republican candidate in November to face write-in candidate Mike Steele by a margin of more than 700 votes, 2,284 to 1,580.

“The election results came in, and I, Sheriff Spruell, was not re-elected,” Spruell posted on his social media site shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday. “I would like to thank all my supporters, and wish the new sheriff who takes office in January the best of luck.”

Cortezian Tipton also won his race in the 3rd U.S. Congressional District in his home county, but challenger Cox performed better there than elsewhere.

County commissioner candidate James Lambert also had to petition his way onto the ballot after losing to opponent Jim Candelaria, but he had a far different result when the issue went to the voters. Lambert beat Candelaria by 2,028 votes to 1,740. Lambert will face write-in candidate Bill Utrup in November.

In the Montezuma County tax assessor’s race, Scott Davis received the nod over Cynthia Claytor, 2,195 to 1,302. And in the county coroner’s race, deputy coroner George Deavers defeated Michael Hall, 2,423 to 1,232.

Here are Montezuma County’s results for statewide races:

Republican governor

Mike Kopp – 1,079 votes

Tom Tancredo – 921

Scott Gessler – 751

Bob Beauprez – 665

Republican 3rd U.S. Congressional District

Scott Tipton – 2,774

David Cox – 1,012

Republican Board of Education

Barbara Ann Smith – 1,524

Marcia Neal – 1,416

Archuleta County

Archuleta County completed its ballot counting shortly after 8 p.m. It had two local races.

In the Republican race for the District 3 county commissioner seat, Ray Lattin defeated Dennis Spencer, 1,052 to 938 votes. And in the sheriff’s race, Undersheriff Richard Valdez defeated challenger Carl R. Smith, 1,485 to 660.

On the statewide races, Archuleta County showed its conservative bent:

Republican governor

Tom Tancredo – 554 votes

Bob Beauprez – 478

Mike Kopp – 441

Scott Gessler – 344

3rd U.S. Congressional District

Scott Tipton – 1,474

David Cox – 422

Republican Board of Education

Barbara Ann Smith – 788

Marcia Neal – 657


Jun 24, 2014
Beauprez claims GOP top spot

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