Pitts enters Mesa commission race
Realtor and former Grand Junction Mayor Bill Pitts plans to become the third Republican to vie for the District 2 seat on the Mesa County Board of Commissioners this fall.
Pitts announced his candidacy Monday, nearly four months after fellow ex-Grand Junction Mayor Gregg Palmer and former Congressman Scott McInnis announced their plans to run for the seat. District 2 Commissioner Steve Acquafresca is term-limited after this year.
After four years on the Grand Junction City Council, Pitts lost his bid for re-election last April to Rick Brainard, who resigned less than three months into his term in conjunction with a domestic-violence arrest and conviction. Pitts said he enjoyed his time on council and decided to run for county commissioner because he enjoys working with the public and wants to work with commissioners to “help move the county in a forward direction.”
Pitts said he is particularly interested in making Grand Junction Regional Airport appealing to potential businesses and hangar occupants. Pitts, a pilot who had a brief stint on the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority before he was replaced by then-Mayor Tom Kenyon, said the airport’s reputation is “finally getting somewhere” after the recent firing of Director of Aviation Rex Tippetts.
“Finally, Rex is gone. That was a big hang-up, in my opinion. We have new people on the board, the city and county are involved. We have to encourage businesses to come back,” Pitts said.
Pitts said his decision to run is about him, not the other candidates running. He did take a jab at the other candidates’ spending, though, saying he wants to run without a campaign fund.
“I’m going to run on my own merit,” he said. “There’s too much money being spent. If people want to donate money, they can donate it to Catholic Outreach.”
McInnis’ campaign as of Nov. 1 has brought in $36,000 in donations, while Palmer has taken in nearly $3,000.
Which of the three candidates will become the Republican challenger on the Nov. 4 ballot will be determined either through the March 22 Mesa County Republican Party County Assembly or the June 24 primary election.