Eagle-Vail athlete Zach Varon is a write-in candidate for Colorado governor

'Really, I just want us to agree on something' is local's campaign slogan

John LaConte
Vail Daily

EAGLE COUNTY — Zach Varon didn’t list Beaver Creek as his hometown in the paperwork he filed to run for governor, but that’s his goal.

Not only does the Eagle County resident want to become the next governor of Colorado, he wants to conduct the state’s business from the slopes of Beaver Creek, if elected.

“That’s where I’d try to do most of the meetings, that’s for sure,” Varon said. “But unfortunately, as we know, much of the state’s business takes place behind closed doors in Denver.”

Varon is one of three official write-in candidates for governor in the 2022 election, along with Republican Laurie Clark and Independent Paul Willmon.

The top-of-ticket candidates include incumbent Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and Republican Heidi Ganahl. The American Constitution Party, the Approval Voting Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Unity Party will also have candidates on the ballot, along with Independent Ralph Tingle.

Varon said he became interested in politics from attending a couple of Vail Town Council meetings after he encountered difficulties with housing in Vail, and quickly realized it was the larger issues of the state which interested him more.

“That’s when I got curious about what it actually takes to run for governor,” he said.

To see your name on the ballot, you’ll need 1,000 signatures from each Congressional District, but becoming an independent write-in candidate, Varon learned, could be accomplished by forming a committee, selecting a lieutenant and becoming unaffiliated for a year. Of course, filling out a lot of forms along the way is also required.

Varon selected Sean Hoyt as his lieutenant and began filling out those forms.

“I had to withdraw my status as a Democrat in Colorado,” Varon said. “And now that we can still vote in primaries without being registered in the party, that’s what I would have done anyway. That’s what a lot of people are doing. I voted in the Democratic primary, but I’m not a Democrat anymore. And it feels great.”

Varon said election data from the 2018 election cycle turned him onto the power of independent voters in Eagle County. In the 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses Vail, there were 209,000 registered non-affiliated voters in 2018, compared to the 175,000 Democrat voters and 133,000 Republican voters.

“There’s more independents here than Republicans or Democrats,” Varon said.

And in looking at the leadership makeup of the state, that doesn’t appear to be reflected, Varon said.

“Independents aren’t really represented at the state Capitol,” Varon said, “but the parts of this state that those people at the Capitol enjoy are here in the mountains, being represented by independents.”

Varon said a perfect example can be found in Polis, who owns a home in Vail and visits the area often.

“I respect the governor as a family man who is raising his children to appreciate the mountains here in Vail, there’s no doubt that we all want the same for our children,” Varon said. “But he’s a part of an upper level of wealth in this state which we just mainly have to service here in the mountains, we don’t relate to him and he doesn’t relate to us.”

Varon — who is Black, in his 30s, grew up in Denver and is a regular competitor at regional Freeride World Tour competitions — represents recreation and diversity, something valued in Colorado, but it’s his luxury sales and management experience which makes him an ideal candidate, he said.

Having spent years working in mountain real estate, Varon said he understands the impact a service ethos can have on the local economy.

“Beaver Creek is surrounded by luxury real estate, yet the entire operation is completely dependent on that good service that the area is known for,” he said. “The true power lies in that service.”

Varon said in his search to fulfill his campaign-slogan promise “Let’s find something to agree on,” that’s one thing he has found a lot of agreement with among regular working people in Colorado.

“Another strata of wealth has been created here in Colorado in recent decades which, as regular people, we can only dream of, never obtain,” he said. “I understand the hard work it takes to build wealth and I want every Coloradan to have access to the education and resources to attain it.”

Varon said his main goal in running for governor is to test the theory that working people in Colorado are ready to agree on a number of issues.

“We have some people trying to profiteer their way to a perfect world, and other people trying to legislate their way to a perfect world, and it’s just this constant battle,” Varon said. “I just want to talk to everybody on all sides and figure out what we agree on.”

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