Child, Young dominate in county commissioner primary |

Child, Young dominate in county commissioner primary

Janet UrquhartThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Steve Child and John B. Young were the top two vote-getters in nine of 10 Pitkin County precincts in last month’s primary election for the District 4 county commissioner seat, final voting results show. In one precinct, Young tied with candidate Darryl Grob.The final tally, by precinct, was recently posted at It shows Child led the balloting with 701 votes (38 percent), followed by Young with 552 (30 percent). The two candidates advance to the November general election.Eliminated from the race in the primary were Grob, with 359 votes (20 percent), and John Wilkinson, with 223 (12 percent).Overall turnout for the primary was about 21 percent of the county’s active voters, according to the county Clerk and Recorder’s Office.The precinct totals reveal a strong showing for Young in the city of Aspen as well as Basalt, while Child carried Snowmass Village, the Old Snowmass area, Redstone and a couple of precincts on the outskirts of Aspen.Though turnout for the primary was light, particularly compared with anticipated voter participation in November, when the presidential election will be on the ballot, both District 4 candidates will likely be looking at the June 26 results as they gear up their fall campaigns.”Overall, when you’re second, you need to make up the difference,” Young said Monday. “I hope the majority of the Grob and/or Wilkinson supporters will gravitate my way.”Child said he’ll be studying the results and trying to determine whether campaigning diligently in some areas of the county made a difference at the polls in those places.Though commissioners are elected atlarge by voters, candidates must reside within the district for which they’re seeking office, and District 4 is generally considered the Snowmass seat, as it takes in both the town of Snowmass Village and Old Snowmass.Precinct 6, encompassing Snowmass Village, saw the highest turnout of any precinct for the primary, with 276 votes cast. Child led with 82 votes; Young was close behind with 76, followed by Grob with 62 and Wilkinson with 56.Young carried Precincts 1, 2 and 4 in Aspen and said he was happy with those results. He also edged out Child by a few votes in Precinct 9, which is the Basalt area.Child outpolled Young, 91-50, in Precinct 8, the Old Snowmass area, where both men reside. Child has long served on the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus, representing that area’s interests.”I’ve got work to do in my own neighborhood,” Young said.Both candidates are well known in Pitkin County. Child is a Capitol Creek rancher and son of the late Bob Child, a former county commissioner. He is a former teacher in the valley and a shuttle driver in Snowmass Village. Young was the first town manager in Snowmass Village, has held a host of administrative posts with Pitkin County and currently works as an affordable-housing consultant. He’s also a member of the Basalt & Rural Fire Protection District board of directors.While Young said he is a long-time Democrat, he’s identified as unaffiliated on the ballot, while Child is running as a Democrat. Young said he hadn’t yet decided to run for office when the local Democratic Party conducted its caucus last spring – the opportunity to seek the party designation.In heavily Democratic Pitkin County, the designation could work to Child’s advantage among people who vote a straight party ticket, Young noted.”It’s a challenge for me that, at least in Pitkin County, people vote for the man, not the party,” he said.Nonetheless, Young predicted a close contest in November.”I think it’s going to be a very close election,” he said.Child, too, isn’t relying on the primary results as an indicator of November’s outcome, given the low voter turnout in June.”A lot of people who did not vote in the primary will be voting in November,” he said. “I would call the race a toss-up at this point.”

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