Braudis wins big | AspenTimes.com

Braudis wins big

Joel Stonington

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

Bob Braudis handily won the race for Pitkin County sheriff, defeating challenger Rick Magnuson by a 9-to-1 margin in Tuesday’s election. Magnuson’s left-field challenge to a 20-year incumbent garnered national attention for issues regarding nearly everything but law enforcement.Though Magnuson’s art took a significant portion of the attention, he also questioned Braudis’ commitment to arresting drunk drivers and Braudis’ stance toward drugs and drug dealers.”I felt a healthy level of competition,” said Braudis, who campaigned extensively during the past two months. “I never viewed Rick’s challenge as a slam-dunk. Having an opponent generated a lot of juice and enthusiasm that I haven’t been able to savor for 20 years. The contest gave me a chance to educate and be educated.”Not many of Pitkin County’s residents voted for Magnuson, and though both Aspen newspapers commended him for raising some important issues, he did not receive an endorsement.Braudis was reelected with 85 percent of the vote, outpolling Magnuson 5,445 votes to 941, according to unofficial results.”Everybody loves our sheriff,” said longtime local, Nancy Scheinkman, after voting Tuesday night. “I don’t think Rick Magnuson ever had a chance, but I like his gumption.”Braudis, though he commended Magnuson on the campaign, did not say that his office would be making any changes or looking at any changes in the near future.”[Magnuson] brought up issues without any factual basis,” Braudis said, after being asked if the race would spurn change. “Rick would have done himself credit by backing off on fictional statistics.”The statistics in question were just one of many issues heating up Pitkin County’s race for sheriff. After Magnuson used undercover means to reveal Braudis attended an alcohol treatment clinic, the race was on. Magnuson’s video of himself masturbating in the desert made national news, and soon after, another art project, where he mailed letters to Osama Bin Laden at fictional U.S. addresses also hit the spotlight. “I can’t distance myself from art,” said Magnuson, on Tuesday. “I tried to in this race, unsuccessfully. I tried to bring up real issues. But people were continually distracted by art projects, which ultimately hurt. I didn’t bring that stuff up.”Magnuson placed an ad in Tuesday’s Aspen Times that had an image of an officer and his name with the caption, “How do you know when you’re finished making love?””I wondered what the answer was,” said Braudis. “I envy his imagination and artistic slant on life. Rick brought that part of his personality to the campaign.”Magnuson said the quote was from Jackson Pollock. It was Pollock’s response when someone asked how he knew when a painting was done. “It’s about the end of the campaign,” Magnuson said. “It’s something I put all my passion and dedication into. I realized today was the last day so that was a statement about ending it. Apparently it was too abstract.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com