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The Aspen Public Radio Newsroom has chosen to focus on four specific issues for our election coverage: the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice/representation, climate change and land use/management.These issues were among the most important to voters, according to a Pew Research poll in August 2020. We also chose them because they are important to people who live in the Roaring Fork Valley. That’s especially true as many have seen the economy, and their livelihoods, take a hit because of the pandemic, the growing Latino population in the region hasn’t had someone from their community holding a countywide governmental office, wildfires have been ferocious this season in the state, and the oil and gas industry employs many people.Our central question while reporting this series was “What Can I Expect From My Government?” We set out to find a diverse group of people who could tell us their answers to that question.Our election series is scheduled for Oct. 20-23. You'll be able to hear the stories during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. All our content will also be available here. Many of the other stories you’ll find here are from our reporting partners. We wanted to provide information about Colorado's key ballot initiatives and races, and also share details about how you can take part in this historic election year.

Updates: Local Races Have Mix Of Clear Winners, Contests Too Close To Call

Lauri Jackson
Aspen Public Radio

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5

State Sen. Bob Rankin has won his reelection bid after a close content between him and Democratic challenge Karl Hanlon. Hanlon called Rankin to concede Thursday morning. There were about 1,000 votes separating the two men, according to the latest, unofficial returns. 

"I got into this race to bring a new voice to Rural Colorado and fight for working families on issues that matter to them," Hanlon said in a Facebook post. "I’m really proud of the work my team has done to get us this far and all the supporters throughout the district who believed in a vision of change. While I wish the outcome had been different, I remained heartened by the tens of thousands of voters in Senate District 8 who made their voices heard."


Rankin was not immediately available for comment on Thursday morning. 


After two days of counting votes, Republican incumbents Mike Samson and John Martin are on track to retain their seats on the Garfield County Board of Commissioners. County clerk Jean Alberico says that the county still has nearly 600 ballots that need to be processed. She notes that the margins between the candidates in the county’s District 2 and 3 races aren’t close enough to change the results. 


The latest count shows incumbent John Martin ahead of challenger Beatriz Soto by more than 500 votes. Incumbent Mike Samson holds a 1,000-vote lead on Leslie Robinson. Soto and Robinson have yet to concede. A final tally and certification isn’t expected until after Nov. 12.


According to unofficial results, three seats on the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners were filled Tuesday night, including one newcomer. In District 3, incumbent Greg Poschman was running unopposed and will serve a second term. He says the biggest issue facing Pitkin County is “complacency,” and has talked a lot about complacency in the face of climate change.


In District 4, incumbent Steve Child picked up about three quarters of the vote to lock up a third term on the board. He also said climate change is the biggest issue facing the county, citing impacts to the ski industry and water supplies.


And a newcomer won in District 5 with about three quarters of the vote: Francie Jacober. The Crystal River Valley resident is a retired teacher and current restaurant manager.


In Eagle County, Democratic incumbents Matt Scherr in District 1 Kathy Chandler-Henry from District 2 were poised for reelection, with comfortable leads.


Democratic incumbent state Rep. Julie McCluskie has declared victory in House District 61 with about 60% of the vote. And in House District 57, Republican incumbent state Rep. Perry Will has a clear lead ahead of his Democratic challenger, Colin Wilhelm, with roughly 63% of the vote. 


In the interest of transparency: Karl Hanlon serves on the board of directors for Aspen Public Radio and also consults on legal matters pertaining to the station.