Jankovsky unseats Garfield County Commissioner Houpt

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Republican Tom Jankovsky handily defeated incumbent Democrat Tresi Houpt in the Nov. 2 election, by a comfortable margin of roughly 54 percent to 46 percent.

With all but one precinct counted as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night, Jankovsky, who is the longtime general manager of the Sunlight Mountain Resort ski area, had garnered 7,970 votes to Houpt’s tally of just under 6,897.

“I think it was about jobs,” Jankovsky said of his victory, speaking at a Republican party gathering at the Ramada Inn in Glenwood Springs. “That really was the difference.”

Jankovsky’s win will mean that, after he is sworn in next January, the three-person Garfield County board of commissioners will be solidly Republican for the first time in recent memory.

Houpt, at an increasingly subdued Democratic gathering at the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub, gave a concession speech to her supporters and advised them, “I think we can be really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last few years. This was just a year when the whole country was reacting to some pretty difficult times.”

Jankovsky said his initial plan of action is “to be at every county commission meeting from here on out to get myself more educated” about the job he is about to undertake.

He said he will stay on the job as GM of the ski area through the end of the coming ski season, then hand the reins over to a new GM and fulfill his pledge to make his commissioner’s job “a full-time position.”

Houpt, who said she plans to remain active in Democratic politics, told her supporters, “I don’t think we should give up hope” as a result of Tuesday’s defeat.

“I think we should be really vigilant,” she declared. “We’ve got a lot to lose” if the oil and gas industry rebounds to its pre-Great Recession strength.

“It’s going to be important that we are making sure we are holding them accountable,” she said of the commissioners.

One result of her defeat is that Garfield County will no longer have a direct voice in the deliberations of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She holds a “local government representative” position, which she will need to surrender when she is no longer a commissioner.

According to the unofficial results posted Tuesday night by County Clerk Jean Alberico, Jankovsky bested Houpt in every category of voting – absentee or mail-in, early voting and on election day itself.

The total tally for the election, according to the results, was 15,235, out of 23,730 active voters, for a turnout of more than 64 percent.