Print This Page >
Allen, Turley win county
Perry and Fuller fall short as voters pick one Democrat, one Republican.
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: November 7, 2012
Separated by only a few hundred votes, Barbara Allen and Melissa Turley were able to fend off their two challengers in a tight race for Teton County Commission.
The two women edged out incumbent commissioner Paul Perry, a move that surprised some political watchers who waited for results at the county administration building.
Allen, a Republican, won the most votes. She pulled in 5,036, which translates to roughly 22 percent of all votes cast.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “That was a strong field of candidates. The vote was really close.”
Turley followed closely behind Allen, receiving 21.8 percent of all votes cast. Perry lost by 311 votes, or approximately 1.4 percent of the vote.
Fuller received the fewest votes in the field. She garnered 4,402, which represents roughly 19.3 percent of those cast.
Allen said of the tight race, “I think it just proves there were four people with a lot of experience and a lot of things to add to the board.”
She entered the final stretch of the campaign having raised the most money of any of the county candidates. Allen raised roughly $8,700 after the primary, even garnering a contribution from former Democratic representative Pete Jorgensen.
Allen hit the campaign trail hard, spending time sending out mailers, hosting events and knocking on doors throughout the county.
She said she planned to take a vacation with her husband starting today.
Even with new members the partisan makeup of the commission will remain the same: three Democrats and two Republicans. The election adds two women to a board that was previously all male.
For Allen, her election to the board means she’ll have a voice in upcoming changes to the county’s land-use regulations. Allen is a six-year town planning commissioner who said many times during her campaign that the new land-use plan for the county has to have some direct link between decreased development in rural parts of the county and denser development in existing neighborhoods.
“I threw my name in the hat because I wanted to be part of the [land-development regulation] rewrite,” she said. “I’m looking forward to those votes.”
Turley didn’t return messages seeking comment by press time on Tuesday. Her departure from the Town Council will leave one more vacancy on that board, as she still has two years remaining in her term.
During the campaign, Turley touted her roles as a nonprofit consultant, mother, and owner of a Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust homeowner. She said she supports affordable housing, public transportation and land development regulations that balance higher-density development with open space and wildlife protections.
She’s served on the council since 2006.
Throughout the election, Turley received a significant amount of support from county Democrats. Turley’s list of contributors includes many of the leaders of the county’s Democratic Party, including Hank Phibbs and Andy Schwartz, who serve as county commissioners.
She also received donations from Marcia Kunstel, Joe Albright and Story Clark Resor, as well as from County Treasurer Donna Baur.
The success of Turley and Allen means Perry won’t get a chance to serve out a full term on the commission. He was appointed to replace Leland Christensen in 2010, when Christensen won a spot in the state Senate.
Though he said he likely will run for office again, Perry said he was disappointed by the results on Tuesday.
“I knew it was going to be a hard campaign,” Perry said before leaving the county administration building. “And they were all out there campaigning hard.”
Fuller also hinted at future campaigns.
She still has two more years to decide whether she wants to make another run at county commission, she said. Fuller said she was excited that her follow Democrat won a spot on the commission but said she was “definitely disappointed.”
“I always have another chance,” she said after the results were tallied in the county commissioners’ chambers.
Though she said she’s still mulling another run at elected office, it doesn’t appear that she’s ready to change any of her stances.
“It’s all about ideas, and I guess my ideas just aren’t popular in Teton County ... yet,” she said.