Sheriff Hilkey preps for 3rd, final bid at job

Two-term incumbent Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey today will announce his third run for the job.

Meanwhile, Hilkey’s lone opponent to date says he is bowing out of the race.

Hilkey, 45, is expected to formalize his candidacy during a noon luncheon hosted by the Mesa County Young Republicans at Omar’s Catering, 801 N. First St.

Aside from managing a department with a budget nearly $1 million under 2009 funding levels, Hilkey said top challenges over the coming years will include the installment a new valleywide law enforcement communications network and an updated records-management system.

“By the time I’m done, they should be implemented,” Hilkey said.

Elected in 2002, Hilkey’s run for a third and final term was made possible when voters in November agreed to remove term limits for the offices of sheriff, coroner and district attorney. Mesa County rejected a similar measure in 2007, and Palisade Police Chief Carroll Quarles said the prospect of a repeat 2007 message from voters prompted him to announce his candidacy for sheriff last summer.

Quarles’ election committee is still listed as active, according to online records with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

“I just have to go through the process to withdraw,” Quarles said. “I never had any intention of trying to unseat Stan Hilkey.”

Mesa County Democratic Party Chairwoman Martelle Daniels said at least two party members have expressed interest in challenging Hilkey, but they don’t yet have a candidate.

“We’ll support anybody who comes forward,” Daniels said.

State records show Hilkey’s election committee has $1,180 leftover from 2006, when he defeated Democrat Bob Silva for a second term.


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