Though he didn’t have nearly the name recognition as his rival, Grand Valley businessman Cody Davis crushed a win for Mesa County commissioner District 1 on Tuesday’s primary ballot over the more well-known state Sen. Ray Scott.
Right from the get-go when the first results were released, Davis held a commanding lead over Scott, pulling in nearly 71% of early voting. Ironically, he’s running to replace term-limited Commissioner John Justman, who endorsed Scott as his replacement.
Davis attributes at least part of his nearly insurmountable lead to Scott going negative with his campaign in the last remaining days before the primary election. During that time, Scott ran clearly false ads about Davis, saying he didn’t do enough to stop a fee that had been assessed by the Grand Valley Drainage District back in 2015, a year before Davis got elected to its governing board.
Davis was never in a position to do that before a judge ruled that fee a tax, and ordered it be paid back to taxpayers.
“It wasn’t just a twist, he flat out lied,” Davis said. “And then he doubled down on them.”
Meanwhile, former Commissioner Janet Rowland is on a path back to serving on the three-member panel, having easily won the seat for District 3 to replace term-limited Commissioner Rose Pugliese. Rowland was the only named candidate on the primary ballot, but she did face write-in candidate JJ Fletcher.
Both Rowland and Davis said their biggest priorities over the next few months and years will be to manage the county’s budget as best they can given what the COVID-19 pandemic did to the state and local economies.
Both said that can be done, but not by government.
“It’s time for government to get out of the way,” Davis said.
“I think we have to continue to focus on a diversified economy,” Rowland added. “We’re lucky that we’ve had so many of our economic partners work so hard at this. They’ve done a lot of really good work and we’re in a really good position. If we can just get past COVID, I think we’re going to be OK.”
Davis agreed, saying the county has been smart — and a little bit lucky — when it comes to the pandemic. But to move forward, its residents have to continue that job, he said.
“Mesa County is in kind of a different world when it comes to COVID, and hopefully we can continue to want to be safe, to be smart, but stay open,” he said. “We’ve got lower tax revenue because of March and April, so we’re going to have to be smart on the way that we tax. Right now, the only thing we can do is lower taxes and incentivize more businesses to come in here.”
Since serving on the commission from 2005 to 2013, Rowland did a variety of things, including serving as executive director of CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Mesa County. In that job, Rowland helped volunteer counselors represent the interests of children who were victims of abuse or neglect.
Most recently, though, she was national director of Project 1.27, an effort to recruit and train families to foster and adopt children.
This was Davis’s second foray into politics.
His first elected position was on the drainage district in 2016, resigning that seat in 2019 after moving out of the district he was representing. He was replaced by Justman.
Davis is a contractor and land developer who owns Chronos Builders. He’s been building homes since 2004. He’s also worked in the oil and gas industry.
Scott has served the past 10 years in the Colorado Legislature, first getting elected to the House in 2010, and the Senate in 2014. He was re-elected to the Senate in 2018, and has two more years left before he is term limited.
Republicans greatly outnumber Democrats in the county, but that doesn’t mean the November election is already decided.
Davis will go on to face Democrat Kathyn Bedell in the general election, while Rowland will square off against Democrat Dave Edwards. Both Bedell and Edwards ran unopposed in the primary.