Democrat Natalia D. Macker and Republican Peter Long were the two highest vote getters in Tuesday’s primary for the Teton County Board of County Commissioners.

The Democratic and Republican primaries were both uncontested — both had two candidates, and with two seats open on the board, all four will advance to the general election. Tuesday’s result indicated that Macker and Long are both on solid footing for the general election. Independent Wes Gardner, the owner of Teton Toys, will join the race then and the five candidates will be narrowed to two, who will win seats on the board.

“I’m feeling good,” Macker said. “I’m very grateful for everyone who turned out to vote. We’ve been working hard for many months, and we’ll keep doing so.”

Always an advocate for women’s involvement in politics, the County Commission chair also paid tribute to the 19th amendment, which was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920 — exactly 100 years before Tuesday’s primary.

“It is especially exciting for this election to be on the same day we celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage,” Macker said.

Macker won 2,444 votes, 53.74% of the votes counted in the Democratic primary for County Commission. Commissioner Greg Epstein pulled 1,950 votes, 42.88% of the Democratic vote.

On the Republican side, Long, a marketing and public relations consultant who worked on the Bush and Obama administrations’ National Security Councils and later as an assistant to former Vice President Dick Cheney, picked up 1,969 votes, 58.71% of the votes counted in that primary. Christian Beckwith, the founder of the SHIFT Festival, won 1,234 votes, or 36.79% of the Republican vote.

“We’re really pleased with the results,” Long told the News&Guide. “To me, it tells me that the voters and residents here are really looking for some common sense change and that more than anything they’re looking for our elected leaders to step up to the plate and stop pushing issues down the road.”

Commissioner Greg Epstein acknowledged that he had some work to do before the November election.

“Natalia has run a strong campaign up to this point,” he said in a text, “and I have some work to do heading into the general.”

Beckwith, who was in the Wind River Range, was not available for comment Tuesday.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

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