Local attorney Art Daily and urban planner Ann Mullins will become the newest members of Aspen City Council, after prevailing in Tuesday’s election with 1,435 and 1,287 votes, respectively.
Former city councilman and local developer Dwayne Romero came in third on Tuesday with 1,094 votes, while local resident Johnny Carlson garnered 108.
Daily, 72, a longtime local whose two sons attend Aspen High School, was the top vote-getter even though he didn’t campaign forcefully leading up to the election. He attributed the victory to his name recognition and respect that he commands in the Aspen community, rather than his stance on any particular issue.
“I’ve been here the longest, I know a lot of people and that’s paying off,” said Daily, as he watched city staff tabulate the election results in council chambers Tuesday night. “I’m part of the heart of this community and I’m pleased.”
Mullins, 64, was the only woman running for political office this election cycle. She said she was relieved to come out on top after working hard during the campaign, and eager to work with the other council members on a plan to keep Aspen’s small hotels and lodges viable by helping them fund capital improvements.
“It’s something that’s needed, it’s really important and there’s consensus on it,” said Mullins. “It would be nice to start off with an issue that’s a little less contentious.”
Mullins previously served seven years on Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission, four of them as chair.
Daily and Mullins both avoided a runoff election by winning more than 45 percent of the total votes cast. Just over 2,200 Aspen voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, and each was allowed to choose two council candidates.
The winners will fill the seats vacated by sitting council members Derek Johnson and Torre in June.
Torre faces off against sitting council member Steve Skadron in a runoff mayoral election on June 4. If Skadron wins, that would open up another vacant seat on City Council. The council, not Aspen voters, would appoint someone to fill that seat.
Reached by phone after the preliminary election results came in Tuesday, Romero sounded a gracious note in reacting to his defeat in the council race.
“There were some differences on the margin between us,” he said. “But both Art and Ann are great people and they will be fantastic for the city of Aspen.”
Throughout the campaign, the four candidates were often in alignment on political issues, so much so that the moderators of the Squirm Night forum hosted by both local newspapers in April could scarcely get them to disagree.
Daily agreed with Mullins on the need to help keep Aspen’s inventory of small lodges intact, and he said he was in support of building additional affordable housing in Aspen and keeping intact zone districts that support local businesses outside of Aspen’s downtown core.
Mullins raised questions about the sitting council’s decision to impose a 28-foot height limit on new buildings, as well as the decision to introduce an ordinance that would increase the affordable housing mitigation fees that developers are required to pay.
The vote totals of the top three council candidates corresponded to their fundraising totals in the weeks before the election: Daily raised a total of $5,975 from April 11-30, Mullins raised $5,365, while Romero raised $3,400.
Aspen 2013 municipal election results
Steve Skadron 516
Maurice Emmer 396
Adam Frisch 369
Derek Johnson 346
LJ Erspamer 131
Art Daily 1,435
Ann Mullins 1,287
Dwayne Romero 1,094
Jonny Carlson 108