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4 candidates for Custer County coroner

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – October 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Some years ago, the state legislature moved Colorado’s primary election from September to August. The official explanation was that it would give the winners more time to campaign for the general election. Cynics claimed that turnout would be much lower in August, when Coloradans are generally busy with company or off on vacation, and so the party stalwarts would have an easier time controlling the nomination.

In either case, there weren’t a lot of contested races around here, and so the turnout was pretty low.

The one exception was Custer County, where nearly a third of the eligible voters cast ballots in the Aug. 13 primary. Most of them (846 of 969) were Republicans — no surprise in Custer County — but that was because the only contested race was on the GOP ballot.

There, four people were vying for county coroner, and for the record, incumbent Art Nordyke won with 47% of the vote. The others, all getting about 20% apiece, were Cal Leslie, Cindi Flower, and Darell Geroux. Nordyke will face Democrat Kathy Kantjas in the November general election.

We’ve been speculating why there’s so much interest in the coroner’s race. Under Colorado law, the county coroner is one of the few officials who can arrest the county sheriff, but we haven’t heard of anyone who wants Fred Jobe arrested. Or maybe it’s the glamor of the job, what with the popularity of the “Crossing Jordan” television show.

There was almost a Democratic primary for state senate district 2, of which Custer is a part, between Dan Slater, the former Frémont County Democratic Chairman who’s also a Harry Truman impersonator, and Nancy Dick, the former state lieutenant governor. But it turned out she hadn’t lived in the district long enough, so she was disqualified before the election, even though her name remained on the ballot.