David Palacios (D) shakes hands with Jae Potter (R) as votes are counted. With the race separated by a handful of votes, the final tally may take several days as provisional and absentee ballots are processed.
One Carbon County Commission race looked like a sure thing all evening, while the other was neck and neck with one candidate jumping ahead and then the other doing the same thing as election results came in Tuesday evening.
When the dust cleared Republican Jae Potter and Democrat David Palacios found themselves only separated by five votes with Palacios garnering 2,585 votes to Potter's 2,580.
"This is the closest race I have ever seen in this county for a commission seat," said present County Commissioner Mike Milovich after the vote was announced at the Carbon County Courthouse. "I've lived here my whole life and it's never been this way."
Potter had run against Milovich only two years ago and had come fairly close to catching up with the sitting commissioner. But because of that Potter was a better known quantity this time and Palacios was more of a newcomer. Potter attributed that experience to some of his success in this election.
"I learned a lot from running against Mike the last time," said Potter, who was at the courthouse. "I thinked that helped me this time."
Both candidates are vying for the seat that long time Commissioner Bill Krompel is vacating in January.
But despite Palacio's narrow margin, he isn't out of the woods yet. Provisional and some absentee ballots still remain to be counted and that will be done on Nov. 12 when the vote canvas is done at the courthouse.
"We have 154 provisional ballots to count," said Carbon County Clerk Bob Pero. "We also have a number of absentee ballots to count as well. Those (absentee ballots) had to be in the mail yesterday (Nov. 1) and some still need to arrive at our office. Within the vote numbers we announced tonight there were 72 absentee ballots that had come in counted. We will count the others when we do the canvas next week."
Obviously those votes will change the count, but it remains to be seen if they will change the outcome of what was announced Tuesday evening.
In the other commission race John Jones defeated Travis Blackburn quite easily 2,884 to 2,219. However many at the courthouse commented that the vote count was closer than they thought it would be in that race.
In another hotly contested race, present Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova outlasted Robbins Radley 2,978 to 2,231. It was the first time since being elected sheriff in 1998 that Cordova has had to face an opponent in a general election.
After the announcement of the final numbers, Palacios and Potter shook hands, and were quite jovial, although discernably nervous about what the final outcome might be.
Other county races had candidates that were unopposed. That included Pero's clerk/auditor's position, the county assessor, the county attorney, the county recorder and the county treasurer's position.
See more details on the returns and other offices, including state representative numbers and judgeships in the Thursday edition of the Sun Advocate.