Aspen candidate hopes fourth time is the charm |

Aspen candidate hopes fourth time is the charm

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
L.J. Erspamer

ASPEN – If L.J. Erspamer running for Aspen mayor or City Council sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

Erspamer, 68, said Wednesday that he plans to run for either mayor of Aspen or one of its two City Council seats up for election. He said it’s much more likely he’ll aim for the mayoral seat.

“I’m almost positive I’m running for mayor,” he said. “But there’s a remote chance I’ll run for council.”

The chairman of the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission, Erspamer ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat in 2007 and 2011. He finished third in his bid for mayor in 2009.

Despite those defeats, Erspamer said he’s staying on the same message he pushed in those three runs: greater fiscal responsibility in City Hall, a more business-friendly approach by the City Council and civility in discussions, no matter how heated the debate might be.

“We need to find reasons to support our conclusions, which are already made unilaterally,” he said.

Erspamer also said he believes he has a better shot at mayor than one of the two council seats. Already, Art Daily and Dwayne Romero, both well-respected residents with backgrounds in business, have announced their intentions to run for City Council. Mayor Mick Ireland, who is stepping down because of term limits, also has suggested that he might run for council, but he is waiting to see how the field of candidates develops.

“I wouldn’t have a chance at beating those guys,” Erspamer said.

But for the mayor’s seat, he said, with the current roster of candidates – Councilmen Adam Frisch, Steve Skadron and Torre – his chances are better. A fourth councilman, Derek Johnson, also is leaning toward a run for mayor, but he has made no official announcement yet.

Erspamer also noted that three years as the Planning and Zoning chairman have given him solid experience on how to run a meeting efficiently and be its tone-setter. That experience would serve him well as mayor, he said.

Petitions to qualify for council or mayor are available in the city clerk’s office starting March 18. Mayoral candidates must record at least 25 valid voter signatures under the process. The deadline to turn them in is 5 p.m. April 5.

In the meantime, Erspamer said he’s off to Las Vegas for 10 days, where he plans to attend the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR race on Sunday. Upon his return, he said he plans to hit the campaign trail and raise funds, something he hasn’t done in past runs, but he conceded that it will take money to make a formidable run for mayor.