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Two winners named in Bayfield school board election; a third remains too close to call

Four candidates were running for three open seats
Molly Orendorff holds just a 0.37% lead over incumbent school board treasurer Amy Davlin as of 9 a.m. Thursday. (Durango Herald file)

La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Lee declared Justin Talbot and Debbie Wilhelm winners in the Bayfield School District Board of Education race Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a third open seat remained too close to call as of Wednesday.

By 10 p.m. Tuesday, it was pretty clear that both Talbot and Wilhelm had secured their spots on the board.

Four candidates were running for three open seats. Wilhem was running as the incumbent board vice president, while Talbot is a newcomer who had previously served on the town of Bayfield’s board of trustees.

Talbot took almost 30% of the votes in La Plata County and roughly 38% in Archuleta County. Wilhelm took around 26% of the votes in La Plata County with slightly above 15% in Archuleta County.

“My family’s very heavily involved with the community,” Talbot said. “We love the Bayfield community, and I’m glad to see that they have confidence in me moving forward into the school district seat.”

As of Thursday morning, incumbent board member Amy Davlin trailed newcomer Molly Orendorff by just 0.37% of the votes.

Lee said she didn’t want to call the election because the race between Orendorff and Davlin was so tight and could head to a recount if it gets closer. The candidates were separated by 24 votes.

“I hope to continue to serve our district for four more years, but I will respect and honor the decision of the electorate,” Davlin said.

Davlin said she respects the voting process and would not request a recount if she was declared the loser.

“I have all the faith in the world in our election system,” she said.

Orendorff said in an email on Thursday that she is excited to serve on the school board if the election stands as is, and it is bittersweet to run for school board in a small town like Bayfield because she personally knows all of the candidates. She said if a recount does occur and Davlin were to win as a result, she would happily accept that.


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