Eagle County sheriff winner up in the air

Randy Wyrick
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Randy Wyrick/Vail DailyJames van Beek spent part of Wednesday picking up campaign signs. Van Beek is challenging Joe Hoy in the Eagle County sheriff's race. The race is so close that a winner won't be declared until at least Friday, and possibly Monday.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. – The Eagle County Sheriff’s race won’t be decided until at least Friday, county officials said Wednesday.

For now, Joe Hoy leads challenger James van Beek by a scant 135 votes with 13,331 votes cast in Tuesday’s election, 6,723-6,588.

Van Beek was pragmatic about it all.

“Whether I win or lose, winning is better,” van Beek wisecracked Wednesday as he cruised around the county picking up campaign signs.

Hoy was also upbeat about it all.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Hoy said. “I have been the whole time and I’m still ahead.”

Hundreds of ballots remain to be counted, and dozens of provisional ballots have problems that must be corrected before they can be counted, said Kris Friel, Eagle County’s communications director.

So, the winner won’t be decided until at least Friday, and possibly Monday, said Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton.

There are between 200 and 300 ballots that will still figure in the total, Friel said.

“At the earliest, we are expecting provisional ballots to be complete by Friday evening. If not, it will be Monday before we have those results,” Simonton said in a written statement.

Even then it might not be over. The loser could request a recount, if the results are close enough. If the margin is within one-half of 1 percent, the recount is automatic.

“Elections are like juries,” van Beek said. “You think you have it and they come back with something completely unexpected.”

Hoy has spent the last 21 years with the Eagle County Sheriff’s office, the last eight as sheriff.

Van Beek spent 12 years with the Sheriff’s Office, then eight years working around the world starting and training police forces in Third World war zones, concentrating in Kosovo and the Middle East – Iraq and Afghanistan.

Eagle County includes a sliver of the Roaring Fork Valley, including El Jebel and part of Basalt.


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