Thursday, October 30, 2003
Nearing the end of a campaign process that featured at least six candidate forums, a radio debate and countless interviews on the street with curious voters, most candidates for the Steamboat Springs School Board are looking forward to Election Day.
District 4 candidate Jerry Kozatch, who runs against incumbent Pat Gleason and Robin Crossan, plans to spend Tuesday evening at the Routt County Courthouse, where the Clerk and Recorder's Office will tally votes.
"I don't think I could stand to wait until (Wednesday) to wake up and grab a newspaper and see if I won," he said.
Win or lose, Kozatch said Wednesday would be a relief.
"I'm really looking forward to Wednesday morning, either to get on to new business (as a School Board member) or to return to what I was doing before," he said.
Candidates in the first contested School Board election in seven years said the campaign process was valuable for the community.
The two contested elections forced candidates to discuss education issues and voters to think about them, District 2 candidate Brian Kelly said. Even Michael Loomis, who is running unopposed for the District 5 seat, attended campaign forums in an effort to let voters know about him and his stance on school-related issues.
Kelly said he has received telephone calls at home from curious voters.
"What has been interesting in the last couple days is people calling and asking how I feel about something," said Kelly, who is running against Jeff Troeger.
Troeger said the number of people logging onto his Web site, where he posted his stance on various school issues, has increased over the past month. He has even shared some back-and-forth dialogues with users who question his stances.
"I've enjoyed it," Troeger said of the campaign process. "It has been a lot of fun so far. I've had some interesting conversations with people."
Like most of the candidates, Gleason said the forums were valuable for voters but prevented candidates from being able to fully discuss issues.
"I think the experience was pretty good," Gleason said. "The problem is the issues are bigger than the allotted time to discuss them."
Mudslinging is something the campaigns haven't featured, perhaps because of the mutual respect the candidates express for each other.
"I think everyone who's running is a good candidate," Kozatch said. "They're all dedicated, smart and forward-thinking."
With just a few days left until Election Day, candidates said they would continue campaigning in hopes of swaying undecided voters in their favor.
"I'm continuing to work it for several more days, but I think we're at the point now where there's not a lot of uninformed voters," Kelly said. "One of the mysteries of a small-town election is that you don't know how people feel until the results are in."
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