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Total recall in Park County

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – April 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Total Recall in Park County

Park County voters recalled all three of their commissioners in a special election on Feb. 27, and it wasn’t even close.

In District 1, Richard Trast was ousted 1,600-754; Steve Benninghoven lost 1,717-643 in District 2; and Douglas Walters was on the short end of a 1,908-445 tally in District 3.

This was the first time in recent memory, according to state election officials, that a county’s voters recalled all three commissioners. Back in 1980, Chaffee County voters recalled two commissioners.

Also on the ballot were replacements in case the recall succeeded. New commissioners, who will serve until commissioners are selected in the regular November general election, are Cecil DeLange, Lynda James, and Bob Barford.

Turnout was relatively light; the approximately 2,500 voters participating were only half the roughly 5,000 who voted in the 1996 general election.

And about 1,000 voters lost a chance to select new commissioners — they voted against the recall, but did not vote for replacements if the recalls succeeded, as they did.

The new commissioners’ first act in office: They suspended 10 county employees for reasons they refused to announce — after campaigning for a more open government in the wake of lawsuits filed against the old commissioners charging secret meetings and a refusal to conduct public business before the public.

The more things change …