Aspen’s campaign season ramping up | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen’s campaign season ramping up

Carolyn SackariasonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Campaign season is just around the corner, with several individuals contemplating a run for one of three open seats on the Aspen City Council.Aspen residents Torre and Andrew Kole said they will run, but whether its for the mayor’s seat or for one of the two council seats up for election, the two have not decided. The seats of Councilman Jack Johnson and Councilwoman Jackie Kasabach are up this May, as is the mayor’s seat, held by Mick Ireland.Kasabach, who was appointed last fall after the death of J.E. DeVilbiss, said she is considering a campaign. Johnson said he hasnt made a decision. Ireland said he is considering another bid for the two-year mayoral term but hasnt decided.Councilman Dwayne Romero, whose seat doesnt expire for another two years, said he is considering a run for mayor but the chances are remote. As a courtesy, Romero said he has talked to Ireland about running against him. Former D&E Ski & Snowboard Shop owner Derek Johnson said he is strongly considering running for a council seat. He will make a final decision by next week.Im excited about the possibility, Johnson said. Right now, Im discussing it with friends and family.Aspen Velo owner Mike Wampler said he is mulling a bid, as are David Guthrie and Marcia Goshorn. But until both see what kind of support they can garner, and decide if their personal and professional lives leave enough room to serve, they are holding off on making any announcements.Goshorn and Wampler have run previously for council seats and lost.Cliff Weiss, who ran twice unsuccessfully, in 2003 and 2005, said he is considering a bid for council as well. Weiss currently serves on the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission.I have a lot of pros and cons to think about, he said of the low-paying position and how he can juggle his ski instructing and hotel marketing business with public service. If I woke up on a Tuesday Id say no and on Wednesday, Id say yes.Im teetering, which is so typical of a politician.Weiss added that serving on City Council is a tough job, especially having to deal with all of the towns gadflies, naysayers and overly-emotional individuals. [Council members] are harsh with each other and the public, Weiss said, adding if he does decide to run and gets elected, he hopes to change the divisiveness between the council and the community.There are a few other Aspen residents who will likely make announcements on their candidacy next week and asked not to be identified until then.City Council candidates have announced as early as February, and have entered the campaign as late as April.March 16 is the first day Aspen residents can pick up their candidacy papers. The deadline is April 3 to submit the necessary paperwork and a petition with signatures of 25 Aspen residents.Torre, who was a councilman from 2003 to 2007, has run unsuccessfully three times for mayor the most recent being in 2007 against Ireland and Tim Semrau. Torre announced his 2007 candidacy on March 1, which was about a week after Ireland and Semrau announced their bid for mayor via separate public relations firms.Torre, a Plum TV host and a tennis instructor, also ran against then-mayor Helen Klanderud while he was a councilman. Another unsuccessful bid was against Rachel Richards and Charlie Tarver.He said Wednesday that he thought at the time he could have won any of the elections, but the more important reason for campaigning is the public debate on local issues.I believe a certain segment is not being represented, he said.Kole, who has run unsuccessfully three times for council and once for mayor, said hell run again, although hes just not sure for which seat. If Ireland runs unopposed, Kole said hell likely run for mayor.He joked that hes following in the footsteps of President Abraham Lincoln who ran nine times before being elected to public office; and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who ran three times before winning.Of course, they are both dead now so Im not sure, Kole said.csack@aspentimes.com


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