Unaffiliated candidate Jack Turner a wildcard in La Plata County commissioners race – The Durango Herald

Will the independent candidate draw more votes from Democratic or Republican voters?

Brad Blake, Clyde Church and Jack Turner are running for La Plata County Commissioner in November 2022.

The three-way race between Jack Turner, Brad Blake and Clyde Church for County Commissioner of District 1 is perhaps La Plata County’s most intriguing election this fall.

Turner moved to District 1 to enter the race after losing to Democratic candidate Marsha Porter-Norton by a narrow margin of 166 votes in the race for District 2 commissioners in 2020.

Church is the holder of District 1, which covers roughly the western half of La Plata County. He beat Blake, a Republican, by just 23 votes in the 2018 commissioner race.

Blake is currently leading the candidate fundraiser with more than $16,000 in hand, according to data from the Colorado secretary of state.

Turner has about $2,600 in hand, although he has raised more than $13,000 during the election cycle. The church has approximately $1,500 on hand. He loaned his campaign $3,700, the only candidate to have loaned his campaign money.

The addition of a third candidate to a previously thin contest likely darkens the race for Democrats and Republicans.

Anne Markward, chairwoman of the La Plata County Democrats, said her party expected Turner to run for office and would likely attract voters from both parties.

“What will happen this time is anyone’s guess. I have no idea,” she said. “It’s going to be tight one way or another. That’s why we’re going to work hard to get all the votes we can.”

La Plata County GOP Chairman Dave Peters sees a clear path to victory for Republicans, with Turner making little difference in the results.

“The bottom line is whether Republicans are going to the polls,” Peters said. “…If we have a solid Republican turnout, I think Brad wins easily.”

In the 2020 race for county commissioner of District 2, Turner ran as an independent against Porter-Norton, who ran as a Democrat. Peters said Republicans voted for Turner in this election because there was no Republican on the ballot, but he thinks GOP voters will be consistent in their vote for Blake in November.

Turner likes his chances, too, even in a political system dominated by party candidates.

Turner aims to attract members from both parties by focusing on pressing local issues such as affordable housing, jobs and homelessness.

Jack Turner, an unaffiliated candidate for La Plata County Commissioner, delivers his box of signatures for his petition to be on the fall ballot to Tiffany Lee, La Plata County Clerk and Clerk, Thursday at the office of Lee at Bodo Park. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Turner also gained confidence collecting signatures for his petition, as he heard from voters who were disappointed with both the Democratic and Republican parties.

“A lot of Democrats and Republicans are disappointed with one party’s acrimony, endless bitterness and anger toward the other party, and agendas that are more on the far left or far right “, did he declare. “My feeling is that the majority of voters, regardless of how they are registered, are a little fed up.”

Seeking to capitalize on party voter frustration, Turner sees potential in La Plata County’s first unaffiliated commissioner.

“I like my chances. In fact, I like my chances,” he said.

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