Sheriff candidate certified for ballot; others pending
Only one unaffiliated candidate for Mesa County sheriff has, so far, been certified to be on this fall’s ballot.
One of the remaining two is waiting to see if signatures turned in by Thursday’s deadline are enough to qualify, while another has another month to add names to his list.
As it stands now, Patrick Arotin had more than enough signatures from registered voters to make the ballot.
The Fruita resident turned in 1,392 signatures, 1,131 of which were from registered voters. Unaffiliated candidates only need 750 qualified signatures to get onto the ballot.
Another candidate, James Lange, turned in 352 names, 282 of which were valid, meaning he doesn’t have enough to get onto the ballot, according to the Mesa County Clerk’s Office.
But under Colorado law, unaffiliated candidates have far less stringent rules to follow than party candidates do, said Catherine Lenhart, Mesa County director of elections. State law gives such candidates another month, until Aug. 11, to “cure” their petitions, meaning they have that much more time to add names to the list.
A third candidate, Ralph Hamblin, turned in 921 signatures, but they came just before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline. As a result, it won’t be until later today before it will be known if he has enough to qualify, Lenhart said.
Even if he doesn’t, Hamblin also would have until Aug. 11 to make up any difference.
If the three unaffiliated candidates make the ballot, their names would appear below the only named party candidate in the race, state Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, who is facing an investigation over timecards with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
There also are two official write-in candidates, Michael Harlow and Benita Phillips. Write-in candidates have until next Thursday to get their names on that list. Their names won’t appear on the ballot.
It’s too late for candidates of any other party to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot.