La Plata County Democrats voted to place county treasurer candidates Tim Walsworth and Allison Aichele on the primary ballot during the county assembly on Saturday at Fort Lewis College.
Aichele, the incumbent, garnered 105 votes, or about 62 percent, and Walsworth received 65.5 votes, about 38 percent.
There were 170.5 votes cast in the race, although there were 187 elected delegates at the assembly.
Two people at the assembly counted as half a vote. At the caucuses, a precinct chose to send one more delegate than they were alloted and asked two delegates to split a vote. Allowing delegates to split votes helps to increase participation at the assembly because it allows more party members to attend, said party Chairwoman Jean Walter. Overall, she said she was pleased with the turnout.
The treasurer’s race drew impassioned speeches on both sides.
La Plata County Commissioner Julie Westendorff spoke in support of Walsworth.
She supported Aichele four yeas ago, but she said she was disappointed in her performance because of the results of the 2016 audit of the treasurer’s office.
According to the report, the treasurer’s office had improper segregation of duties.
Westendorff called for a primary election to let the candidates answer to the voters.
“We need to have a primary to let each prove why they are best for the job,” she said.
She also endorsed Walsworth’s ethics, commitment to public service and his leadership.
Aichele said she worked hard to update the office, which was still operating with paper and typewriters when she was elected.
“My vision was to get rid of those typewriters,” she said.
She said she brought a background in accounting, banking audit, finance and technology to the position, and the treasurer’s office is now running smoothly.
“We have no backlog. We have no errors,” she said of her office.
Durango City Councilor Sweetie Marbury spoke in support of Aichele because she improved the efficiency of the office and has knowledge of the laws governing the office, she said.
Walsworth said his experience as executive director of the Business Improvement District and the former president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado has prepared him to be treasurer.
“I have all the financial acumen and all the experience that is needed to do this job,” he said.
County Democrats also voted to place three candidates who are running unopposed in the primary on the ballot. Sheriff Sean Smith, who is running for re-election, county assessor candidate Carrie Woodson and county commissioner candidate Clyde Church will all appear on the Democratic primary ballot.
Democrats also took preference polls in the governor’s race and Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
The polls determined how many of the county’s 46 delegates would be sent on behalf of certain candidates to the state assembly and the district assembly. However, delegates have the option to change their votes.
In the governor’s race, the majority of delegates supported Cary Kennedy, former Colorado state treasurer. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis came in second.
Kennedy received 25 delegates and Polis earned nine. County Democrats will also send 12 uncommitted delegates to the state assembly.
Hanlon earned 31 delegates and Mitsch Bush earned 15.
Durango resident Root Routledge, founder of Alpine Analytics, and former Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi were nominated for the seat, but they did not receive any delegates.
Hanlon, Mitsch Bush and Routledge all addressed the assembly.
Hanlon talked about his experience as a water and municipal lawyer, and his commitment to support infrastructure and broadband.
He also promised to address the opioid crisis, work to establish affordable universal health care and to protect public lands. He also said he would not to take corporate political action committee money.
“I’m never going to compromise my principles or values,” he said.
Mitsch Bush told the crowd that she could beat U.S. House Rep. Scott Tipton in the general election because she appeals to independent voters.
She has also been victorious in her last five elections, she said.
Mitsch Bush supports immigration reform, universal single-payer health care and public lands.
“We need science-based protections for our environment,” she said.
County Democrats also passed a resolution in support of Commissioner Gwen Lachelt, who is facing a recall effort. She thanked the assembly for their ongoing support.
“This is an incredible community, and we will persevere,” she said.
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis story has been updated to correct the percentage of the vote that Allison Aichele, a candidate in the treasurer’s race, received.