Candidates return nominating petitions for March election
The upcoming municipal election faces a thin ballot, with only three candidates returning petitions for two open City Council seats. Two candidates will vie for the mayoral seat.
Nominating petitions for Aspen City Council were due to the City Clerk’s Office at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Incumbent Mayor Torre and Tracy Sutton turned in petitions for the mayoral seat. For City Council, incumbent Skippy Mesirow, Bill Guth, and Sam Rose submitted petitions.
Tracy Sutton is a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties and owns Aspen Signature Vacation Rentals — a luxury vacation rental company.
She said her decision to run for mayor was made last-minute after learning that Mayor Torre was likely to run unopposed. It will be her first time running for public office, she said.
“I just have been keeping up with the politics and think that it’s time for some changes,” she said.
When asked if her decision to run had anything to do with City Council’s 2021 moratorium on new residential development and short-term rental licenses, she said it was a deciding factor but not her only reason to run.
She plans to release a formal campaign statement Wednesday.
Mayor Torre will run for his third term. If he wins, term limits dictate it will be his last.
“Tracy entering the race is very interesting. The development community and real-estate community, if you will, are putting up candidates for what seems to be self-interest, single-issue stuff,” he said. “But really, the job of being mayor is working for the entire community.”
Hw said he is looking forward to engaging voters in conversations about Aspen issues during the campaign but will prioritize mayoral duties.
In 2021, Torre cruised to a second-term victory over opponent Lee Mulcahy.
City Council race
Longtime local politician Rachel Richards announced in October that she would not seek reelection in March. She declined to comment on the returned petitions.
Two seats on City Council will be on the March ballot.
Bill Guth offered a statement via email on his upcoming campaign for City Council: “I’m excited at the opportunity to offer my years of business and leadership experience and insight to give back to a community that’s been so great to my family and me. I love this town deeply and believe there is an opportunity to preserve what makes Aspen so special and to ensure its success and livability for future generations.”
Guth is a local Realtor whose resume includes service as chair of the housing task force for Aspen Country Day School, membership on the Aspen Commercial Core and Lodging Commission, and a former big buddy with the Buddy Program. His campaign site is at https://billguthforaspen.com/.
He also founded Aspenites for Responsible Land Use Planning, an effort in the past year to repeal City Council Ordinance 27, which placed a moratorium on residential housing development and new short-term rental licenses.
He also testified as an Aspen Board of Realtors witness in the lawsuit that the board filed against the city of Aspen over the ordinance. It ultimately was rendered moot by a court ruling on a technicality.
Sam Rose is a data manager in public health, volunteer firefighter, and member of the city’s planning and zoning commission. He also ran for city council in 2021. His campaign site is https://www.samroseforaspen.com/platform.
“Learning from the last couple of years and all the experience I’ve had on P&Z and everything else I do in Aspen, I’ve got a pretty good heartbeat on — hopefully — what the people want,” he said. “I look forward to getting out and talking to them while canvassing.”
Incumbent Skippy Mesirow faces his first re-election campaign since being elected in 2019.
He expects the campaign to be about changes in the Aspen landscape.
“We’ve experienced more change in Aspen in the last decade and really any time since that initial Elizabeth Paepcke vision,” Mesirow said, “And, what are we going to do intentionally and proactively to ensure that vision continues to live on and that Aspen keeps getting better and better?”
He said he plans to host a formal campaign launch event in the near future.
In the 2021 municipal election, eight candidates ran for two City Council seats.
The city will hold a lottery to determine ballot order on Jan. 10; exact time and location will be announced at a later date.
The last day for a candidate to withdraw from the election is Jan. 12, and city clerk Nicole Henning will certify ballot language on Jan. 13.
The municipal election will take place on March 7. Aspen voters can confirm their registration through the Colorado Secretary of State website and request absentee ballots from the Aspen City Clerk’s office.
City Council candidates must earn 45%, plus one of the vote to win a seat, per the city’s home rule charter. For the mayor, it is 50% plus one.
The charter limits consecutive mayoral terms to three and two consecutive terms for City Council. Mayoral terms are two years and council member terms are four years.
Eagle County Detention Facility can house Pitkin County inmates on a temporary basis, but a long-term arrangement is doubtful, Sheriff James van Beek said Friday.