The Home Front: From lodging taxes to mayors, local election results from across Colorado

Your morning roundup of stories from the front pages of newspapers across Colorado

“Grand Junction voters agreed Tuesday night to double the city’s lodging tax in order to boost tourism and sporting events marketing and incentivize more direct flights into and out of Grand Junction Regional Airport,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Unofficial results late Tuesday showed Ballot Issue 2A, which increases the lodging tax from 3 percent to 6 percent, passing by 55 percent to 45 percent, or 13,124 to 10,772 votes. Thank you for Reading! Please log in, or sign up for a new account to continue reading.”

“Proposition 112, which would have increased setbacks for new oil and gas development in Colorado, has been defeated 56.75 percent to 43.25 percent, according to preliminary results,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “By 9 p.m., several statewide media outlets called Proposition 112 defeated. Stephanie Toubeaux, operations manager of oilfield trucking company Focus Energy Services in Greeley, said the proposition was a threat to her family, as well as the 16 other employees who work at the company and their families. ‘We’re a part of our great community of Greeley … we take responsibility in our environmental health and our safety very seriously,’ Toubeaux said. ‘It’s not easy for us to start an oilfield trucking company with one truck, which is what we did.'”

“Preliminary voting returns Tuesday night showed attorney Nick Gradisar leading all 16 mayoral candidates, while three other candidates were neck-and-neck with each other in the polls for second place,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Gradisar had tallied 4,264 votes as of press time Tuesday night, according to the returns issued by the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. Lori Winner, a former City Councilwoman, had the second-most votes with 3,977.”

“Thank goodness that’s over. Except for counting the votes and tabulating the results, the closing of local polling places Tuesday evening marks the end of this year’s election cycle,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “That’s the good news. The bad news is the next cycle has begun. President Donald Trump has already started his 2020 campaign for re-election through a series of boisterous rallies leading up to Tuesday. Ostensibly, the rallies were for fellow Republicans, although one gets the sense they were really about Trump. It’s always about Trump.”

“Democrat Beth Melton won the Routt County commissioner’s race over Republican incumbent Cari Hermacinski. Melton received 8,074 votes, outpacing Hermacinski, who received 6,039 votes,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘I am really excited to just dig in and address the issues that we addressed during the campaign — really thinking about childcare, housing and getting to work on a climate action plan, and I know we can get that done,’ Melton said.”

“Voters heeded the pleas of those urging the community to invest in Thompson Schools, approving both a $149 million bond and a $13.8 mill levy override by almost a 60 percent to 40 percent vote, as of the second results,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “A group of supporters of the tax gathered at the Cactus Grill in Loveland on Tuesday, anxiously awaiting the first round of election results to be posted online. Hugs and high-fives joined smiles and cheers as they realized the issues were passing. Those who worked hard to advocate for the taxes exclaimed: ‘Oh my God,’ ‘I’m thrilled,’ and ‘I’m going to cry.'”

“Boulder is on track to keep all of the money raised by its tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, as voters appear to be choosing to funnel more cash to health equity efforts over refunding the excess funds to dozens of distributors,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Ballot measure 2D, which would authorize the city to keep the tax funds, was approved by more than 65 percent of voters (17,137) as of the early unofficial results released at 7 p.m. No votes made up 34.87 percent of the total, representing 9,173 people.”

“Incumbent La Plata County Treasurer Allison Aichele appears to have staved off challenger Colton Black, according to the final vote count released early Wednesday morning. With about 28,500 votes counted as of 12:12 a.m., Aichele had 13,670 votes,” reports The Durango Herald. “Challenger Colton Black had 13,485 votes. That’s a difference of 50.34 percent to 49.66 percent, or 185 votes. Aichele and Black did not return calls seeking comment early Wednesday morning.”

“With about 17,000 ballots counted as of 7 p.m. on election night, Eagle County’s extension of the open space tax — ballot question 1A — has nearly 14,000 votes in favor of the extension of a 1.5 mill property tax through 2040, an addition of 15 years on the deal first agreed upon in 2002,” reports Vail Daily. “With about 5,000 votes left to be counted, the gap is more than 10,000 votes.”

“Colorado voters on Tuesday did something no other state has done: They elected an openly gay man as governor,” reports The Denver Post. “Jared Polis, the Democratic congressman from Boulder, handily beat Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s Republican treasurer, by nearly 52 percent to 45 percent, according to the unofficial results late Tuesday. “Colorado is a state that values diversity,” Polis said in an pre-Election Day interview. “We’re willing to elect people that are going to do a good job for our state regardless of their background. … I think it’s exciting to show how far the LGBT community has come that it doesn’t stand in the way of being elected to the highest office in the state.”

“The Colorado governor’s race turned on aspirations, financial realities and a blue tsunami of support for Democrats, drowning Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton in favor of Democrat Jared Polis, who will become the first elected openly gay governor in the U.S., and the state’s first Jewish governor,” reported The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Polis will take office with his party running both houses of the state Legislature and with Democrats apparently having won the statewide offices of attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer. It will be the first time the Democrats have made such a commanding sweep since the 1930s.”

“Christopher Watts pleaded guilty today to the murder of his pregnant wife and two young daughters in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to each of the nine counts he faces, including three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation and two counts of first-degree murder of a victim under the age of 12 in a position of trust for the August deaths of his wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, according to Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke.”

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.