Republican outpaces unaffiliated candidates for Mesa commission
Facing two unaffiliated candidates in the race for Mesa County commissioner from District 1, Fruita farmer and Republican John Justman coasted to an easy victory Tuesday night.
As of late Tuesday night, Justman had won 62 percent of the total vote in the district, besting second-place finisher, construction management and land planning professional Jana Gerow, who garnered 23 percent.
Former commissioner and current manager of the local slow-pitch softball league John Leane earned 15 percent of the vote Tuesday.
Justman received 33,770 votes, compared to 12,663 for Gerow and 8,320 for Leane.
“We really worked hard, and I think we got a lot of name recognition from that,” Justman said early Tuesday night. “I think one of the things that really helped me was being a member of a major party, with the party structure behind us.”
Gerow said it was important to her to see if she could make an impact in the race, without going negative and without spending a lot of money.
“I feel very good about my campaign,” she said. “It was very worthwhile.”
Leane was satisfied with the campaign that he ran, saying, “We did everything that I know to do, and apparently that wasn’t what folks wanted to see or hear.”
“My life was good before this, it’ll be good tomorrow,” he said.
Justman ran a campaign focused squarely on conservative and Constitutional principles, a message that resonated with the Republican-leaning Mesa County electorate.
Justman has made his living as a farmer for more than 40 years in the area, and has translated that experience into service on a number of boards, including the Fruita Co-Op, Grand Valley Irrigation Co. and the Soil Conservation Board. He’s also a long-standing member of the county Planning Commission, a position key to his promise of cutting red tape from county processes.
District 1 primarily comprises the west end of Mesa County. Current Commissioner Craig Meis has served as that district’s representative since January 2005.
Meis is term-limited, and will be replaced by Justman in January.
Justman said he planned to do something quite different today, as opposed to the campaigning and sign-waving that he’s been doing for the past few months.
His son is visiting from San Francisco and “we’ll probably play Tiddlywinks, as a family,” Justman said.