“[Dear] Steve, I wanted to speak with you about not having a runoff.”
So opens an email from mayoral candidate and current City Councilman Torre to mayoral candidate and current City Councilman Steve Skadron, suggesting that it would be best for Skadron to drop out of the June 4 runoff election between the two men.
The email, sent last week to Skadron’s city email address, points out that the runoff election will cost up to $30,000. It says that if Skadron drops out, conceding the mayor’s seat to Torre and finishing the remaining two years of his council term, “it would show that we want to work together on the important goals we share.”
“I think looking forward, this would send a strong message to Aspenites how much you care for the best of Aspen,” Torre wrote, adding that he respects Skadron’s service on council and his right to run for mayor. “I know your intention is to continue on, but I thought I’d make a mention.”
In the May 7 election, Skadron and Torre came in first and second place in mayoral balloting, taking 23 and 21 percent, respectively. The two council members are considered more ideologically aligned and to the left of the candidates they beat out.
Skadron, for the record, has no intentions of dropping out of the election, for which absentee ballots have been printed and sent to voters. He said he respected Torre for trying whatever strategy might work to win the election, and that “you might as well ask.”
“On the other hand, I think ... electing a mayor should be in the hands of the people,” Skadron said, adding that Torre made a similar argument to him when Skadron announced his candidacy in February. Torre has made keeping both of them on council, with him as mayor, part of his platform, Skadron pointed out.
“I want the job, so it’s not something I am seriously considering,” Skadron said. “I don’t think I gave it two thoughts.”
Torre rejected the characterization that his email was asking Skadron to drop out of the race.
“I talked to him about the benefits of us moving forward together,” Torre said earlier this week. “I felt that Steve and I could do some great work together on council.”
If Skadron wins, he will vacate the remaining two years on his council term, meaning that the four-person council, led by Skadron, would have to pick an appointee to take the seat.
“I felt like the appointment process is something that most voters aren’t looking forward to,” Torre said.
The email meant no disrespect, Torre said, adding that he and Skadron have a “friendly relationship.”
“It’s just a conversation I wanted to have,” he said.