Voters pick 4 newbies for town
Incumbent Obringer bumped from council after 16 years.
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
August 22, 2012
Voters ousted 16-year town council veteran Mark Obringer in the town of Jackson’s primary Tuesday, advancing Hailey Morton, Jim Genzer, Phillip Cameron and Jim Stanford to the general election.
Twenty-five votes were all that separated Obringer from Stanford, who was the fourth and final candidate to make the primary cut.
Morton proved to be the top candidate, but only by a slim margin. Her tally of 481 was five more than Genzer’s total and 78 more than Cameron’s.
Unofficial results for the race, which reduced the crowded field of eight candidates to four, were released by the Teton County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday night. Two candidates will be chosen from the remaining four in the general elections in November.
Obringer watched the polling numbers live at the Teton County commissioners chambers. After the results were announced, Obringer said he was grateful for the time he has had in office.
“It’s always been a privilege to serve,” Obringer said. “Now I’m going to find something else to do to serve.”
Obringer will finish his term, which ends in January.
Morton celebrated with her family and campaign committee in the chambers when the county clerk announced that all votes were in.
“The voters spoke their minds,” Morton said. “It’s time for some fresh blood.”
Genzer also watched the election numbers at the chambers and had similar views on the results.
“I have felt all along that we need some new blood on the town council,” he said.
He said he plans to relax for the next couple of weeks before jumping into the general election season.
Once autumn comes, Genzer said, he will begin explaining his problems with the new comprehensive land-use plan. He is now involved with a lawsuit against the town over the plan.
Cameron, who finished third, was with friends at a restaurant downtown when he heard the results. He attributed his success to personal campaigning.
“One of the critical pieces is being out in the community, meeting people face to face,” Cameron said. He also reached people via radio and social media, he said.
He said he was grateful for Obringer’s years of service.
“Above all else, thank you to Mark,” he said. “He’s committed a lot to the community.”
Stanford spent election day fishing with his campaign advisor, Paul Bruun, and was in the middle of a barbecue with friends when he heard the news.
Despite raising the least amount of campaign money of any town candidate and not using any yard signs, Stanford made it through to the general election.
“It’s not about how much you raise and it’s not about how many yard signs [a candidate has],” Stanford said. “It’s about the quality of your ideas.”
He said he hadn’t known what to expect, but he was pleased with the results.
“I’m glad now to have the chance to advance and to really have a dialogue between now and election day in November,” he said.
Stanford said he will stick with his philosophy of no signs in the general elections.
He paid homage to departing councilor Obringer as well.
“I thank Mark for his service,” Stanford said. “He served this community for a long time.”
But he also agreed with the other winning candidates.
“There was a strong consensus in the community that we need some new blood,” he said.
The top three vote-getters in the primary election were also the top three fundraising candidates. Morton pulled in $5,543, while Cameron raised $3,967 and Genzer raised $3,645.
According to the finance report he filed last week, Stanford received only one in-kind donation of $60 during the primary season.
Candidates Steve Harrington, Kelly Egan and Emy diGrappa rounded out the bottom of the field. Harrington, who served as a councilor from 2002 to 2006, totaled 286 votes, Egan pulled in 189 and diGrappa had 172.