Republicans won both seats in the hotly contested Clear Creek County commissioner races, giving the GOP a majority on a body controlled for several years by Democrats.
Republican Phil Buckland won in District 3, defeating Democrat Randy Wheelock with 52 percent of the vote, while Republican Tom Hayden bested Democrat George Clark in District 2 with 51 percent of the vote.
District 3, a seat currently held by term-limited Democrat Joan Drury, is the county’s largest and includes the towns of Empire, Silver Plume and Georgetown. District 2, the smallest of the county’s three districts, is in the eastern part of the county, with a large portion considered to be in Evergreen. The seat is currently held by term-limited Democrat Kevin O’Malley.
The 54 delegates chose Empire resident Buckland from three other candidates in District 3 during the Republican primary in March.
Buckland, originally from Oklahoma, has lived in Empire with his wife, Sally Guanella, since 1980. Buckland received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado. He retired in 2009 as vice president for operations and information technology from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a wholesale electric power supplier.
Clear Creek County animal control officer Thomas Hayden became the Republican candidate for District 2 by voice vote at the GOP assembly after opponent Christopher Trainor withdrew from the race.
Hayden, a Colorado native, grew up in Lakewood. He started his first business, Bear Creek Milling, in 1976, and it eventually became Hayden Forest Products, a lumber milling business he operated until 2003. In 2003, he became the district manager of Evergreen Fire/Rescue. Hayden went into the construction field for a time and in 2010 became animal control officer.
Buckland and Hayden join Democrat Tim Mauck on the three-member commission.
Wheelock moved to the county 40 years ago and operates Wheelock Construction. He was elected to the Idaho Springs city council for a term during the late 1980s and later was appointed to the school board. In more recent years, Wheelock has been involved with the local Democratic Party, serving twice as co-chairman.
Clark, a business consultant and retired Air Force brigadier general, has lived in Clear Creek County since 2001. Clark received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Weber State University and a master’s in engineering from the University of Colorado. He is an organizational consultant at Oregon State Leadership Academy.