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Tom Au bests incumbent Ashleigh Tarkington to become Bayfield mayor

In Tuesday’s unofficial results, Au tallies 185 votes; Tarkington logs 147 votes
One of the two main entrances to Bayfield Town Hall, seen here on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Matt Hollinshead/Durango Herald)

Bayfield Town Board of Trustee member Tom Au is projected to beat incumbent Ashleigh Tarkington in Tuesday’s unofficial election results to become Bayfield’s next mayor.

“I’m excited I won the race. I’m very happy. I think it’s great,” Au said. “... I knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. Yeah, I expected a tough fight all the way through. I’m sure she did, too.”

Au tallied 185 votes, while Tarkington won 147 votes.

“I said it the whole way: I respect anybody that wants to step up and even run for public office. I already sent Tom a ‘congratulations’ text,” Tarkington said. “It was a great turnout. I’m proud of people for getting off their butts and going to vote.”

Tarkington said it remains up in the air whether she plans to run for public office again in the future.

“I’m just curious to see about the future and how it goes for Bayfield. And I will continue to support Bayfield. That’s always been my No. 1 goal,” she said.

Au, who has served on the town’s Board of Trustees since 2022, said residents expressed to him their displeasure about the Cinnamon Heights development project, saying they were unhappy with money that went into purchasing that property and that a public meeting was not held to discuss it.

“It (ticked) them all off, and that’s why I won,” Au said.

Going forward, Au said he wants to address the east side intersection project involving U.S. Highway 160, adding it has been an issue since his first tenure on the board in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

“We need to move forward with this,” he said.

Four Board of Trustee spots also chosen

Matthew Nyberg tallied the most votes among board of trustee candidates with 247 votes, while Cash D. Snooks had the second-highest number with 216 votes.

“I’m extremely excited,” said Snooks, who expressed appreciation for his wife Sierra and other family members during the campaign. “I want to see this community just continue to grow and grow the right way. … That way, my family can flourish here as well.”

Efforts to reach Nyberg for comment Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

Laura MacLaurin (206 votes) and Kat Katsos (175 votes) are projected to win the final two spots.

David Black received 171 votes and finished fifth in voting.

The town will have an eight-day cure period to confirm the results.


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