Summit County re-elects Commissioner Thomas Davidson to District 2 seat
November 8, 2016
In a move that hardens a mandate for the direction of county government, voters on Tuesday re-elected Democratic incumbent Thomas Davidson to his third and final term as District 2 county commissioner.
Davidson defeated two Independent challengers in current Treasurer & Public Trustee Bill Wallace — who formerly served in the commissioner position for a decade, from 1997-07 — and newcomer Jonathan Lerner. With nearly 14,000 ballots cast in the race, Davidson won with 50.5 percent to 38 percent for Wallace and 11.5 percent for Lerner.
"I'm really looking forward to serving the people of Summit County for four more years," said Davidson, "and with the passage of (construction fund) 5A, I'm really glad we get to work on workforce housing."
Davidson consistently emphasized his roots in the community during the election, arriving to Summit in 1985 as a lift operator for Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. That experience eventually provided the backbone for several of the local issues he's tried to tackle in his time in office, first appointed to the job in December 2006.
"I think he's proven himself as an outstanding leader, particularly in all the human services realm, and a real leader in getting 5A to the finish line," said Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier, also re-elected Tuesday night. "And that's going to be a lot of our work. That's going to take up a lot of our time in the next four years."
Over the course of those 10 years, Davidson has often noted his ability to build coalitions between both the county- and state-level entities in the public and private sectors as a strength. The ongoing Iron Springs realignment along Highway 9, a $23 million project to be completed by the end of 2017 that required cooperation between any number of stakeholders is a recent example he cites.
Meanwhile, Lerner stressed his lack of governmental or political experience as an asset in an election cycle that seemed to offer weight to outsiders and non-politicians. Though he ran as an unaffiliated candidate, the decade-long Summit Cove resident and instructor at Keystone Resort maintained ties to the local conservative party.
Wallace, 69, was the tenured statesman and senior politician. He ran for trustee as he neared being term limited for the District 2 seat. After another decade in his present county role and facing another term restriction, jumping back into his previous seat would grant the Frisco resident a new set of downs as commissioner. In defeat, Wallace retains his position as treasurer and trustee through 2018.
"Yes, I'm disappointed," said Wallace, "but it's fine, and I've got a Plan B. I have had 42 wonderful years in Summit County, and I've got two more good ones to serve the people. That's (the voters') decision and I can accept it. I have no regrets."
The re-election of Stiegelmeier to the District 3 seat preserves the current three-member Board of County Commissioners, along with Democrat Dan Gibbs, for at least another two years.
"I think that we're working on the right things," Davidson said, "and I'm so appreciative of the voters of Summit County for having that faith in us."