Aspen has been put on notice that Maurice Emmer will run for mayor again in two years.
Emmer, a retired tax accountant who became a full-time resident less than four years ago, placed third in Tuesday’s mayoral balloting, with 396 votes or 17.8 percent of the total. A slate of six candidates ran for mayor. Steve Skadron and Torre placed first and second, respectively, and advanced to a June 4 runoff.
Emmer was one of three candidates associated with a more conservative viewpoint, along with Adam Frisch and Derek Johnson, while Torre and Skadron are known to have more liberal views, particularly when it comes to restricting growth and development.
Emmer’s press release announcing his 2015 bid, sent to reporters on Thursday afternoon, was tinged with backlash against the notion, espoused by Johnson and Frisch, that too many conservative candidates split the vote, preventing one of them from advancing to the runoff.
“We noted ... that at least one other campaign blamed its loss on the number of candidates rather than on their own shortcomings,” Emmer wrote. “... We are troubled by the argument from a candidate that his loss is attributed to there being others in the race. Accordingly, we are announcing now that we will be in the race for mayor in two years so that others who believe the number of candidates should be limited are on notice that if they join the race, they will be doing what they have accused others of doing.”
Frisch, who told the Aspen Daily News on Tuesday night that he was essentially “tea partied” by Emmer and that he believed 85 percent of Emmer’s voters would have gone to him, was unimpressed with Emmer’s early announcement.
“As I have said many times, anyone who wants to run should, so I guess they should be able to start as early as they want,” Frisch wrote in an email. “Having said that, I think the town prefers to deal with one mayoral race at a time, so I wish Torre and Steve the best of luck. I do not think the community needs nor wants a two-year campaign, but to each their own.”
Emmer, who was the last candidate to get in the race when he announce his mayoral run March 17, said in a phone interview he believed his biggest problem was starting his campaign too late. He said he thinks he would have made the runoff if he had more time to get organized. He spent nearly $30,000 on his campaign — by far the highest total — including $17,000 of his own money.
Emmer said he was approached this week by one of the runoff candidates, who asked him for an endorsement in the final stage of the race. Emmer declined, and decided to make his intentions to run again public.
“At least I’m being open and honest about this,” he said. “... If there are others who are concerned about the number of candidates, let them be concerned — there’s already one.”