GarCo commissioners head for re-election

Two incumbent Garfield County commissioners were headed to re-election wins Tuesday, in one case by a narrow margin.

One-term incumbent Mike Samson, a Republican from Rifle, was defeating Democratic challenger Aleks Briedis comfortably, 11,646 to 9,294, or 56 to 44 percent, with 27 of 29 precincts counted. John Martin, a four-term Republican incumbent from Glenwood Springs, was edging out Democrat Sonja Linman, 11,087 to 10,173, or 52 to 48 percent.

“It was really hard for me to get a feel for what was going to happen,” Samson said. “Everybody told me I was going to win but sometimes strange things happen in elections.”

He said Briedis worked hard in his campaign, and added, “I think a lot of people were behind him.”

Still, Samson said he thinks he’s done a good job as commissioner, including by fulfilling a campaign promise to improve relationships between the county and municipalities.

Briedis and Linman did not return calls for comment. Martin declined to declare victory before final results were in.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” he said.

During the campaign, the challengers suggested Samson and Martin could do more to protect residents and the environment as oil and gas development occurs, and took issue with their participation in a closed-door meeting with other counties and the oil shale industry in Utah.

Samson said Tuesday night he sees a “major polarization” in the country that extends to issues at the county level. “I will do my best to try and bring people together and do the best things for Garfield County, as I always have,” he said.


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