by Marissa Lorenz
The race for District 1 County Commissioner, representing the Fraser, Winter Park, and Tabernash areas, has become the most highly- contested local race yet to be determined in November’s general election with the addition of a third candidate, James Newberry.
On July 24, Newberry submitted his petition to appear on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. Grand County Clerk and Election Official Sara Rosene indicates that the petition included 238 signatures, 194 of which were accepted. The required number of valid signatures to meet the minimum threshold of support is 166, a number surpassed by the petitioner.
Newberry served as Grand County Commissioner for District 1 from 1996 to November, 2015. He resigned the position upon pleading no contest to embezzlement of public property. Under a plea agreement, he was prohibited from running for office during a two-year probation period.
A former member of the local Democratic Party, Newberry was a long-time supporter of the Council on Aging, the Grand County Department of Human Services, and the Colorado River District, among other entities. He indicates that he’s running in order to be more involved more in the community again. “I want to follow up on water issues in the County and the challenges of the budget, especially at this critical time.”
The final ballot will have Newberry running against Republican incumbent Rich Cimino and unaffiliated candidate Travis Wildeboer. The deadline for submitting petitions was July 27, a deadline that was extended from July 9 due to an executive order from Colorado Governor Jared Polis, given the challenge of collecting signatures during the various stay-at-home orders.