Democrat county commissioner in Colorado resigns to join governor’s cabinet

A top Democrat at the county level in Colorado just resigned his powerful position as county commissioner, though only so he could accept a job serving in the cabinet of the state’s new Democratic governor.

Stepping down to take another job

Local media outlet Summit Daily reported that Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs tendered his resignation on Tuesday, just one week after he’d been sworn in on Jan. 8 for his third and final term as county commissioner.

Gibbs’ resignation also came one day after it was announced that he had been appointed to lead the state’s Department of Natural Resources by Gov. Jared Polis.

Party politics

A 10-day clock started the moment Gibbs resigned for his now-vacant position to be filled, and a number of contenders have already thrown their hats in the ring to fill that role.

State law allows for the party of the departing commissioner to choose a replacement to serve out the remainder of the term, which in this case means the Summit County Democratic Party will get to make the decision.

Whoever ends up being chosen to serve in Gibbs place will hold that position until the next election in 2020.

Search for a successor

The chairwoman of the Summit County Democratic Party, Patricia McLaughlin, announced that a vacancy committee would meet on Jan. 23 to appoint a successor, and set a deadline of Jan. 21 for any individual interested in the position to file a letter of intent.

So far, five individuals who live in the area have signaled their interest in the position, but that number could grow prior to the deadline. All of the announced candidates thus far are current or former politicians and business leaders in the county and community.

Those candidates, as well as any others who may announce between now and then, will be considered by the 43-member vacancy committee, which includes representatives of all precincts in the county, the county party’s executive committee, all district chairs from the county, all elected Democrats from the county, and the remaining county commissioners.

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A quorum of 22 committee members is required for a vote to be held after each candidate receives five minutes to deliver a speech, and the candidate who receives 50 percent plus one vote will ultimately be named the successor.

If no candidate reaches that threshold, the candidate with the lowest vote total will be eliminated and the process will continue until the threshold is finally reached.

Should the committee fail to name a successor by Jan. 25, the governor will be allowed to appoint the person of his choosing to fill that role.

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