Gates wins, sales tax loses

Adam Gates cruised to victory for the Yuma County Commissioner District 1 seat, and Yuma voters again rejected a sales tax increase, in the mid-term election that came to an end this past Tuesday, November 8.
Unofficial results Tuesday night showed a total of 2,978 ballots cast in Yuma County, representing 48.07 percent voter turnout. Official results will not be canvassed for a couple of weeks. (Updated results show the Yuma County turnout actually was 85 percent, check out the updated link, including updated vote totals.)
However, the margins on the two ballot questions mentioned above are big enough that likely nothing is going to change in those results.
Gates ran as the Republican candidate for the District 1 seat, which is being vacated by Trent Bushner at the end of his current term. Dwain Weinrich ran as an unaffiliated candidate.
As of Tuesday night, Gates had 65 percent of the vote, 1,884-1,010. Gates will be sworn in to his first term in January. He will join fellow Republicans Scott Weaver, who was elected to his first term in 2020, and Mike Leerar, who was appointed by the Yuma County Republican Vacancy Committee earlier this fall after Robin Wiley resigned after a long tenure due to family medical issues. Weaver’s and Leerar’s seats will be up for election in 2024.
““Yuma county was fortunate to have two great candidates to choose from for this office,” Gates said. “I am honored and humbled to be the one elected to represent the citizens of Yuma County. I would like to thank all those that have supported me throughout my campaign and made this possible.”
The City of Yuma once again attempted to get a sales tax increase passed by voters. The ballot question stipulated it would be earmarked for the Ambulance, Police, Fire and Street departments, and would sunset after 10 years.
The sales tax increase came closer than the past election, but still was defeated by a considerable margin. As of Tuesday night the ballot question had received 43-percent of the vote, 362-483.
The city now will be looking to implement an austere budget for 2023, and possibly will attempt another sales tax ballot question in the next election.
The Central Yuma Groundwater Management District and the Sandhills Groundwater Management District both had tax questions on the ballot. However, there were no results for either of those ballot questions as of Tuesday night.
There were five uncontested county-elected official positions on the ballot, each with a Republican as the sole candidate — Beverly Wenger as Yuma County Clerk and Recorder, Chrystal Hammond as Treasurer, Cindy Taylor as Assessor, Todd Combs as Sheriff, and Javan Jones as Coroner.
Also, Republicans Byron Pelton and Richard Holtorf ran unopposed for State Senate District 1 and State Representative District 63, respectively.
Yuma County went heavily Republican for U.S. Senate and U.S. Representative, along with numerous statewide races. However, Democrats carried most of those statewide.
Democrat Michael Bennet held off Joe O’Dea for U.S. Senator, but Republican Ken Buck held his seat in the Fourth Congressional District over Ike McCorkle.
Democrats held the state offices, with Jared Polis beating Heidi Ganahl for Governor, earning another term. Jena Griswold earned another term as Secretary of State over Pam Anderson. It was the same for Dave Young over Land Sias for State Treasurer, and Phil Weiser over John Kellner as Attorney General.
The majority of statewide amendment and proposition questions also passed, including reducing the state income tax from 4.55 percent to 4.40 percent, and extending the property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans to the surviving spouse of a United States armed forces service member who died in the line of duty or veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease. Ballot questions seekign statewide funding for additional affordable housing, and another asking for “natural medicine” available for persons 21 years or older for regulated and supervised medical care, both were winning by slim margins, Tuesday night.