Two candidates for District 3 county commissioner announced their intentions at the monthly meeting of the Delta County Republican Party Central Committee on Feb. 2.
Incumbent Mark Roeber, a rancher and businessman, will seek re-election to a second term.
Roger Bentley, a chiropractor who also farms south of Delta and was a candidate for the District 3 Republican nomination in 2012, also announced that he will seek the party's nod to appear on the ballot.
The county Republican assembly is scheduled for March 19. Candidates for the office will need at least 30 percent of party delegate votes at the assembly in order to appear on a primary election ballot. If they do not get 30 percent at the assembly, candidates may petition to appear on a primary ballot. General Election Day is Nov. 8.
In making his announcement, Roeber noted that time has passed swiftly since he was elected in 2012 to replace term-limited Olen Lund as the District 3 representative on the BoCC.
"I am here tonight to announce my candidacy for county commissioner for District 3," he told other party faithful at the meeting last week. "These are challenging times for our county. Two things I have fought for and will continue to fight for are our mainstream agriculture and our coal mines."
In brief remarks, Roeber touched on the local economy, county finances, and the county's quality of life, saying, "We have become a spoiled county with money from the coal mines. We need to continue supporting conventional agriculture that provides the open space that everybody loves."
Some of that agriculture, a segment that contributes millions to the economy, is under pressure. "Federal lands [policies] present a challenge to grazing and multiple use which are some of our biggest issues," Roeber said.
He vowed to "stand up and oppose any threat to agriculture or mining."
He concluded, "We need to develop tourism and recreation, but not at the expense of something else."
Bentley's announcement came as a surprise to most that evening. Following the event, Bentley stated several reasons prompting his campaign -- he wants to promote the role of individuals in the county and its economy; he wants to work for the residents; hee intends to apply conservative principles to the government of Delta County, and; he will use the commissioner's position to reduce federal overreach in the county.
"I think that my candidacy will make the [Republican] party stronger by encouraging voters to examine issues and define candidates," Bentley told the DCI. "I believe it will stimulate participation in the [political] process by making participants at caucus and delegates at the county assembly clarify and define their choices; to think more deeply about and clarify their candidate choice."
As of this week's deadline, Roeber and Bentley were the only announced candidates in the District 3 commissioner race.
In District 2, Republicans Nancy Hovde and Don Suppes have announced their desire to serve as county commissioner.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.