Republicans pick Candelaria for primary ballot

Sunday, March 18, 2018 6:07 PM
During the county assembly Friday, Republicans voted in Montezuma County commissioner candidate Jim Candelaria to be on the GOP primary ballot on June 26.
James Lambert introduces himself alongside Jim Candelaria, left, and Charlie Rosenbaugh, right, at the Republican Women’s Club commissioner election forum recently.
Journal file

Montezuma County commissioner James Lambert was seeking a second term but said he will drop out of the race. He did not get enough votes to make the Republican primary ballot, and said it was not practical to try and petition onto the ballot.

Montezuma County Commissioner candidate Jim Candelaria was the sole candidate voted onto the Republican primary ballot during a landslide victory Friday night at the county assembly in Cortez.

Incumbent James Lambert did not receive enough votes to make the ballot and announced Saturday he will drop out of the race.

Candidate Charlie Rosenbaugh may petition onto the ballot.

The winner of the Republican primary on June 26 will face off against Democrat Mary Beth “MB” McAfee, and unaffiliated candidate Steve Chappell in the November general election.

In the Montezuma County Democrats assembly on Saturday, McAfee was unanimously voted onto the ballot by 57 delegates. The party selected 12 delegates to go to the regional and state assemblies.

Candelaria received 55 votes as the favored Republican candidate for county commission out of 118 delegates, one of whom abstained from voting for commissioner. Candidates needed at least 36 votes to get on the primary ballot, or about 30 percent of the 117 delegates who voted in the assembly.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the strong level of support, and I am very thankful for the delegates putting their faith in me,” Candelaria said Saturday. “Getting on the primary ballot is just the first hurdle, so I will continue to campaign hard and get my message out.”

Lambert and Rosenbaugh fell short of the necessary 30 percent of delegate votes needed to get on the primary ballot. Rosenbaugh received 35 votes, missing the cutoff by one vote. Lambert received 27 votes.

Lambert and Rosenbaugh may petition onto the ballot, but each would need to gather 760 signatures from local registered Republican voters by March 20 at 5 p.m., according to the Montezuma County Clerk’s Office.

Montezuma County Republican chairman Danny Wilkin said Rosenbaugh plans to petition onto the ballot.

Lambert decided that the task of obtaining 760 signatures in four days was too steep.

“To get that many, you would really need 800, in case some were not valid. That is 200 per day – too much,” he said. “I enjoyed serving as commissioner and still have many more months to continue the job.”

For the remainder of his term, Lambert said he will focus on getting the Dolores-Norwood Road officially transferred to the county from the U.S. Forest Service, and on fine-tuning the vehicle fleet department, which he helped start to manage and maintain county vehicles.

Voters in the assembly also chose Kim Percell as the Republican county clerk candidate, Ellen Black as the treasurer candidate, Leslie Bugg as the assessor candidate, Steve Nowlin as the sheriff candidate, George Deavers as the coroner candidate and Ernest Maness as the surveyor candidate. All those positions were uncontested.

The Republicans selected 19 delegates for the 58th House District assembly, and 17 delegates for the 6th Senate District assembly.

Journal reporter Stephanie Alderton contributed to this article.