Pitkin County Sheriff: Joe DiSalvo voted into third term, defeats Walter Chi
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo was well on his way to a third term as the county’s top law enforcement official Tuesday night.
As of the Pitkin County results update at 1 a.m., DiSalvo was handily in front of Aspen Police Officer Walter Chi with 79 percent of the vote to Chi’s 21 percent, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
DiSalvo had 6,974 votes to 1,907 votes for Chi.
“I’m happy this is done,” DiSalvo said. “Clearly I’m pleased to be able to represent the people of Pitkin County for another four years.”
DiSalvo said he appreciated the thumbs-up from voters.
“I consider this my evaluation,” he said, “and I consider it a glowing one for my administration and staff.”
Chi said he was somewhat surprised by the vote totals “but not really.”
“When Joe asked me how low I was going to go the real answer was how low he would go,” Chi said.
He also blamed The Aspen Times for the loss, pointing to a story a month ago reporting that District Attorney Jeff Cheney would have charged him with failure to report a child sexual assault he allegedly heard about more than two years ago but did not because the statute of limitations had run out.
Chi claimed the newspaper ran the story “over and over again” and that he never got his say or a chance to call witnesses in court to rebuff the allegations.
“You kind of railroaded me,” he said Tuesday night. “I didn’t do what you guys reported over and over again.”
The Times reported the initial story Oct. 3 with Chi’s denials that he ever heard anything he felt needed to be reported to authorities and that he didn’t hear the incident was sexual in nature. The allegations were repeated in a story Saturday about a 17-year-old Woody Creek resident who was charged Friday with the same child sexual assault Chi allegedly failed to report.
The Times learned about the incident with Chi through a standard election year inquiry asking if seven different candidates for public office this year had any recent “involvements” with law enforcement.
DiSalvo said he was proud of running a clean campaign.
“I tried — as Michelle Obama once said — to stay on the high road as much as I possibly could,” he said. “It wasn’t as clean as I’d like it, but I know I kept my promise to myself.”
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Monday was the last day to mail-in a ballot for next week’s election, though ballots can still be dropped off and early voting started Monday.