Pitkin County Assessor: Deb Bamesberger defeats Mick Ireland | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County Assessor: Deb Bamesberger defeats Mick Ireland

Pitkin County Assessor Deb Bamesberger speaking at Squirm Night at GrassRoots on Oct. 11.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

Political newcomer Debbie Bamesberger will be Pitkin County’s next assessor following her convincing victory Tuesday over former Aspen mayor and commissioner Mick Ireland.

As of the Pitkin County results update at 1 a.m., Bamesberger held a nearly 2-to-1 margin over Ireland, having garnered 5,301 votes compared to her opponent’s 3,290.

“I want to thank all of Pitkin County for voting for me, to have the trust and faith in me to be the next county assessor,” Bamesberger said. “I’m here for all of us.”

Bamesberger, 61, has worked under Assessor Tom Isaac, who is retiring after 28 years at the helm, since 2012. Isaac also endorsed Bamesberger to be his successor.

“I would say having your boss support you in a public election is very important,” she said.

For Ireland, 68, the loss was his second straight political defeat — he lost to Bert Myrin in the June 2015 runoff for a seat on City Council — following 10 previous contests that had catapulted him to county commissioner, council and mayoral seats in Aspen.

Ireland had enjoyed support from such local political players as outgoing County Commissioner Rachel Richards, Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron, Basalt Mayor Jackie Whitsitt, Aspen Councilwoman Ann Mullins, former Pitkin County Democratic Party Chair Blanca O’Leary, and Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, all of whom financially contributed to his campaign.

Both of Aspen’s daily newspapers also endorsed Ireland for assessor.

Ireland spoke tersely about the apparent outcome.

“I lost,” he said. “I didn’t get enough votes, and people made another choice.”

Ireland had raised $5,819 for his campaign through Oct. 28, according to the Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s Office. That was more than three times the $1,746 Bamesberger collected for her election bid. Myrin was the sole elected official who supported Bamesberger with a monetary contributions, but her campaign received donations from some of Ireland’s fiercest local conservative critics, from Maurice Emmer to Elizabeth Milias.

Bamesberger said that despite Ireland’s local name recognition, she had no delusions about running.

“When I get into something, I expect to win,” she said. “That was my purpose or running. I learned to speak in front of people and be very confident.”

The assessor-elect said her first order of business is to take classes that will prepare her for her new job.

Ireland had campaigned on a platform of updating the assessor’s office technology and improving its customer service.

Bamesberger stayed on the message that her experience working in the assessor’s office made her a viable successor to Isaac, and that the office runs smoothly.