While Montezuma County has yet to verify the signatures of two candidates who turned in their petitions on Monday, another candidate with no party affiliation has announced his intention to run.
District 3 candidate Tim Hunter and District 2 candidate Bud Garner are waiting for the county to verify their petitions, so they can be placed on the Republican primary ballot.
The unaffiliated candidates cannot begin collecting signatures until Monday, and they will have until June 4 to turn in their petitions.
Greg Kemp announced on Thursday that he will be seeking the District 3 seat as an unaffiliated candidate.
Larry Don Suckla previously announced that he will be running unaffiliated for the District 3 seat.
Suckla and Kemp will have to collect 2 percent of the votes cast in the previous general election, which is 220 signatures. If an unaffiliated candidate was to announce his intention to run for District 2 commissioner, that person would need 236 signatures in order to be placed on the November general election ballot.
Kemp said he will hit the streets on Monday to try to collect the 220 signatures he needs to be placed on the ballot.
That is precisely what I plan to do on Monday, he said. I am certainly hopeful it will be easy to collect the signatures.
Kemp, 71, said he has been an active member in the community ever since he moved to Mancos in 2001.
He has worked part time at Slavens True Value Hardware for the past 10 years and said he has served on leadership roles in the Montezuma Community Economic Development Association, Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County and the Cedar Mesa Ranches Homeowners Association.
He said he has been an active participant in another 10 vital community organizations, and thinks his involvement in these activities enables him to interact with a diverse cross section of Montezuma residents.
He said his primary reason for running to become a county commissioner is because he believes he could be effective in improving the economy and employment.
We have a high unemployment rate, and we are not recognized as a place where people would come to if they were looking for a job, he said.
He said the county cannot realistically successfully recruit larger companies to move to Cortez, and added that should not be the commissions goal.
People come here because of the outdoor amenities we do have, he said. What we have to do is to be able to reach people who are interested in the outdoors.
He mentioned that it would be wise to develop a website for people who decide to visit the area.
Suckla, 47, is co-owner of Diamond Jim Land Auctions and Suckla Auction Service. His family entered the auction business 64 years ago and he has lived in the area his entire life.
He said one of many reasons he considers himself qualified for the commissioner job is his business experience. As a cattle salesman, as he deals with hundreds of business people and companies and added the cattle owners are kind of like chief executive officers.
Suckla said he does not believe that it will hurt his election chances since he is running as an unaffiliated candidate.
I have always voted for who the best candidate was and not what party they were with, he said.
The county clerks office said they would have to research the issue of whether an unaffiliated candidate had won a commissioner seat in the last 10 to 25 years.
Currently Keenan Ertel and Pat DeGagne-Rule are on the District 2 Republican ballot, while Dewayne Findley and Casey McClellan are on the Republican ballot for Distrct 3.
In another local Republican race, the Secretary of State Office is expecting district attorney incumbent Russell Wasleys petition to be certified or ruled inadequate sometime next week. This decision came after Wasley delivered his petition to Denver last week. It now has to be sent to a data processing office in Pueblo.
Michael Maresh can be reached at email@example.com