About last night
The thing about Aspen politics is that no matter who wins or loses on Election Day, we can always walk away feeling a little more enlightened about what this town wants ” and does not want.
Here are a few things we learned Tuesday:
1. Unless you graduated from MIT, the instant runoff voting process is downright confusing, especially if you’re watching the results being tabulated in real time on GrassRoots TV. It also takes an enormous amount of faith in instant runoff voting to trust the results. If Tuesday’s election was for a state or federal office, we’re confident there would have been more lawyers than anyone else in the City Council chambers.
2. Need proof of the confusion? There were 168 spoiled ballots from Tuesday’s election. Previously, the average had been two.
3. The great irony of this election was that incumbent councilman Jack Johnson, who pushed for instant runoff voting, ended up on the short end by being eliminated in the second round for the second seat, which was claimed by Torre.
4. The results didn’t tell us that the residents don’t want a new Aspen Art Museum. But what they did tell us is that Aspenites really, really don’t want one built where the former Aspen Youth Center currently sits. With 1,471 against the new museum and 902 in favor of it, this was a clear mandate that the museum needs to look elsewhere for some new digs.
5. As hard as he tries, Andrew Kole just isn’t meant to sit on City Council. In his fifth bid for a seat on council, Kole came up at the bottom of the pack in the race for mayor.
6. Do newspaper endorsements have clout? Don’t tell that to Derek Johnson. Johnson was the top vote-getter in the race for City Council, despite not getting a mention from either newspaper in their top four picks for council. Meanwhile, both papers endorsed Question 1 in favor of the Aspen Art Museum, which was hammered at the polls.
7. Money can’t buy you votes, or at least last night it didn’t. While mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks and political newcomer Adam Frisch waged formidable campaigns by raising the most money for the mayoral and City Council races, respectively, neither claimed victory.
8. When was the last time the Aspen municipal election, Cinco de Mayo and a Nuggets playoff game occurred on the same night? Until last night, never. Which means, actually, absolutely nothing.