New faces on Grand Junction council

Phillis Norris.

Marty Chazen

Harry Bulter

Rick Brainard

Martin Chazen celebrates with Grand Junction Chamber President and CEO Diane Schwenke at the Blue Moon Bar & Grill.

Voters want to see new faces on the Grand Junction City Council.

At least two incumbents, Bill Pitts and Tom Kenyon, were voted out of office, and a third appeared to be on her way out, according to Tuesday night election results.

Phyllis Norris won handily in District A after nabbing 63.8 percent of the votes, while Rick Brainard ousted Pitts for the at-large seat, earning 57.7 percent of the votes.

A tight race in District D showed Marty Chazen winning the race over incumbent Laura Luke by 63 votes, 4,622 to 4,559.

A recount is mandatory if the margin is 0.5 percent or less. Though the margin was greater than that Tuesday night, at 0.59 percent, Luke said earlier in the evening she would request a recount of the votes. Any candidate has that opportunity if he or she is willing to pay for the process, which costs about $500, Grand Junction City Clerk Stephanie Tuin said. Election officials have up to 10 days to recount ballots, she said.

“I’ll fight for it,” Luke said, surrounded by friends and family while watching results at Grand Junction City Hall.

Chazen, after being contacted at an election party at the Blue Moon, said he wanted to hold off on commenting.

“I don’t really want to say anything until it’s over,” he said.

While candidates facing off against the incumbents spent much more money campaigning than in years past, Harry Butler was voted into office without spending a dime, according to his campaign finance reports.

Butler, a School District 51 Board of Education member, was at a school board meeting Tuesday night as the results rolled in.

Butler received 42 percent of the votes in a three-way race that included Duncan McArthur and Robert Noble.

Noble, who watched results at City Hall, said although he didn’t win, he was pleased his candidacy took votes away from McArthur.

“In my mind, Harry is a better choice,” he said.

Both Noble and Kenyon said they were concerned that three of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s four endorsed candidates were voted into office.

“This election was very different, very organized,” Kenyon said. “It felt like they were out to get you. They raised a lot of money.”

Rick Brainard was all smiles Tuesday night as people congratulated him on his win amid a bustling crowd at the Blue Moon.

“I’m feeling relief and excitement from winning,” he said.

Brainard said he would be supportive of management at Grand Junction Regional Airport.

Brainard is the vice president of business development at West Star Aviation.

His opponent, Mayor Bill Pitts, ran on a platform of ousting the current administration.

“Before I got here, the airport was suffering,” he said. “Now, the airport’s facilities have improved, there are more seats and the airport businesses are thriving.”

Staff writer Sarah Rose contributed to this report.


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