Torre makes it close on election day but absentee votes carry Skadron
City Councilman Steve Skadron topped fellow Councilman Torre in the Aspen mayor’s race, according to unofficial election results released Tuesday night.
In a runoff election that proved to be a tight race, Skadron garnered 891 votes to Torre’s 807, or 52.5 to 47.5 percent. Skadron dominated the absentee voting, winning 533 votes, or 57 percent, while Torre made it close on election day, receiving 413 day-of votes to Skadron’s 358. Skadron and Torre placed first and second, respectively, out of a field of six candidates in the May 7 general election.
On Monday, Skadron will vacate the remaining two years of his council term and begin, with three other council members, the process of selecting an appointee for his seat (see related story). Torre is not eligible for the seat because of term limits.
With eyes red from emotion after studying the results in City Hall, the mayor-elect texted his mother. Skadron then walked to Kenichi, where he shook hands with Torre.
Torre, who will step down after nearly eight years as a councilman, wished his former opponent good luck.
Skadron said he is curious to know how the appointment process affected voters’ choices. Had Torre won, Skadron would have been able to serve out his remaining two years on council, and several letter writers urged voters to select Torre so both men could remain on council.
“I was struck by how close the vote was,” Skadron said. “It came out closer than I thought, and I’m curious to know how important the appointment issue weighed on people’s minds.
“If that did, in fact, influence people’s voting decision, council has a great responsibility to be careful in their [appointment] selection.”
Skadron, 50, said his campaign focus was on “one-to-one outreach,” including a letter-writing campaign and knocking on scores of doors.
He complimented Torre and the contributions he has made to town, and said he hopes his former opponent stays involved.
Torre, 43, said he intends to “continue to work on the issues that matter so much to me.” He said he was proud of the campaign he ran against “a couple of formidable opponents.”
Asked if he was referring to Skadron and Mayor Mick Ireland, who threw his considerable political influence behind Skadron, Torre said, “I think the team that was running the other side of the field was several opponents.”
There were no regrets, he said, adding that he was proud to have devoted himself to public service.
“I think I got my message out as strong as I could,” Torre said. “I intend to continue to focus on the issues.”
Upon taking the mayor’s seat, Skadron, who runs a local marketing firm, said one focus will be looking at a recent study by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association on economic sustainability.
A phrase in the report regarding stagnant wages struck him as significant, he said, noting that Aspen’s workforce “can’t afford the housing we’re attempting” to build.
“We have this enormously expansive and intricate and expensive infrastructure, and it’s all tied together,” Skadron said. “So our local economic vibrancy and the quality of life we all seek is all tied to these issues. I think a good place to look is some of the work that’s been done by the chamber.”
He said he’s also excited to be part of the change in leadership from the era of past mayors Bill Stirling — a four-time Aspen mayor who congratulated Skadron — Helen Klanderud, Rachel Richards and Ireland.
“I feel like I’ve kind of learned from them, and the baton’s being handed off to the next generation of leadership,” Skadron said. “I think it’s really healthy for town.”