Sitting La Plata County Commissioner Brad Blake announced Tuesday he will run for re-election this year.
“There’s a lot of good things happening at La Plata County and a lot of tough things,” Blake said. “And I think I work well with my fellow county commissioners and work to get things done.”
On Nov. 6, one seat is up for grabs on the three-person Board of County Commissioners. The seat, held by Blake, is for District 1, which covers nearly all of western La Plata County. However, state law mandates that all registered voters in the county be able to vote on the seat.
Blake, a Republican, was first elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 2014, narrowly defeating Democratic candidate Cynthia Roebuck by a vote of 10,933 to 10,843.
The 57-year-old Durango native started his own plumbing company in 2001, Blake Mechanical Inc., which is now mostly run by his son, Stewart, and his wife, Janelle.
Blake was also a partner in a solar construction company, Konisto Companies Inc., but was bought out a few months ago. Blake said most of his time is dedicated to his county commissioner duties, though he does have some real estate endeavors.
Blake already has one challenger in La Plata County resident Clyde Church, a Democrat, who announced in December he would run for the seat.
It’s unclear if Blake will be challenged in the Republican primary. As of Tuesday, no one else besides Blake and Church had registered as a candidate.
The La Plata County Republicans and the Southwest Republican Women said Tuesday they were unaware of anyone planning to challenge Blake in the primary.
Blake said he believes he’d be the best person to continue to help guide the county through its difficult financial time, which is mostly attributable to declines in property tax revenue from the dwindling oil and gas industry.
“This board, working together with staff, have overcome a lot of challenges, especially as it relates to the revenues for the county and our reduction in our budgets,” Blake said.
If re-elected to the four-year position, Blake would be term-limited in 2022.
In 2016, La Plata County commissioners Gwen Lachelt and Julie Westendorff, both Democrats, won re-election and retained their seats. They are term-limited in 2020.
As of Tuesday, only three other people had registered for county positions in the November election:
Allison Aichele, a Democrat, for La Plata County treasurer. Aichele was elected in 2014.Charles Hamby, a Republican, for La Plata County sheriff. Current Sheriff Sean Smith, a Democrat, told The Durango Herald previously he intends to seek a second term, but he has not officially filed for re-election.Tiffany Parker for La Plata County clerk and recorder. Parker was elected in 2010. Deadlines are fast approaching for this year’s election.
People who want to run with a party affiliation are required to receive 30 percent of that county assembly’s vote to be placed on the primary ballot.
Republicans will hold their county assembly at 7 p.m. March 22 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Democrats will hold their assembly at 8:30 a.m. March 17 at Fort Lewis College.
For candidates who don’t get 30 percent of their party’s vote or who want to run unaffiliated, petitions to be placed on the ballot can start May 17. They must be turned in by July 12.
Primary elections will be held June 26. The last day to affiliate with a party for the primary is May 29. This year, however, a new state law allows unaffiliated voters to vote in one party’s primary election.