Wiggins rolls to win in primary
Police officer will face Democrat Gary Wall in November sheriff's election
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs Police Officer Garrett Wiggins cruised to an easy win in Tuesday’s Republican primary for Routt County sheriff, beating Sgt. Ray Birch of the Sheriff’s Office.
Wiggins garnered 714 votes or 63 percent of the vote. Birch totaled 426 votes or 37 percent.
The Republican sheriff’s race was the only contested race in Tuesday’s Republican and Democratic primaries.
Wiggins advances to face Democrat Gary Wall in November’s general election for the right to replace Sheriff John Warner, who is not seeking re-election.
Wiggins said he was surprised the race was not closer.
“My optimistic side told me I was going to do really good, but my pessimistic side thought it would be more neck and neck,” he said. “I’m happy. A win is a win. It just made me feel good to see that I have the support of this community.”
Birch was training in Moffat County on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment. Warner endorsed Birch and has said he is not sure he would support Wiggins if Wiggins won.
The primary was Wiggins’ first political venture. He said he has learned a lot.
“Last night I was lying in bed thinking, ‘Did I do everything I could?’ and ‘Was there anything I could have done better?'” he said. “The last four months have really stressed me and my family.”
Wiggins said he is eager to face Wall.
“(Campaigning) against (Wall) is going to be a little different because Ray and I had a lot of the same beliefs,” he said. “We’re both pro-law enforcement, which made it hard for us to debate at times because we felt the same way about a lot of stuff. With Gary we’re pretty much at two ends of the spectrum. We’ll differ quite a bit.”
Wiggins is a police officer but is assigned to the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, or GRAMNET. Wiggins formerly worked at the Routt County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy before he left to work for the Steamboat Springs Police Department in 2003.
Wiggins has said his focus will be training and retaining quality employees, improving relations between rural Routt County and the Sheriff’s Office and holding the department accountable for its actions.
Wiggins said he did not speak with Birch on Tuesday, but wished him the best.
“It was a good, clean race and I appreciate that,” Wiggins said. “I extend my hand to him and can give him credit … I admire him for jumping into the fire and giving it all he did.”
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