Interest heats up for Aspen mayoral seat |

Interest heats up for Aspen mayoral seat

John Colson

A former mayoral candidate may be joining a former mayor in therace to become the next elected leader of city government on May4.With only a week to go before electioneers can start gatheringsignatures, the Aspen City Council race appears to be heatingup, although the only formally declared candidate is two-termcouncil member Rachel Richards, who is running for mayor.Former council member Max Marolt, who ran against retiring MayorJohn Bennett two years ago and lost, is contemplating anotherrun for the office, he confirmed on Friday.Former Mayor Bill Stirling confirmed last week that he, too, isthinking of going after his old job.Marolt, who was elected to the City Council in 1995, gave up hiscouncil seat after losing in the mayoral election in 1997.”I’m thinking about it,” Marolt admitted last week. But, he said,he’ll probably forego a mayoral bid “if somebody really good comesalong who thinks like I do.”Marolt said he knows of “a couple of people – good people thatI could support,” who may run for the mayor’s seat. He declinedto name them.Jake Vickery, who ran for a council seat in 1997 and lost, wasappointed to serve out the final two years of Marolt’s term. Vickeryhas not yet decided whether or not to run for election in May.Richards is vacating her council seat to run for mayor, and sofar the only declared City Council candidate is Aspen native TonyHershey.Three-term former Mayor Bill Stirling, who retired from the jobin 1991, has said he is thinking about his options, sparking ahot debate among local political observers about the pros andcons of a Stirling candidacy.Adding spice to the political pot, former Pitkin County CommissionerHelen Klanderud said on Friday that she also is considering arun for the mayor’s job.Klanderud served on the Board of County Commissioners from 1981to 1987 and left Aspen in the late 1980s after losing a bid forelection to the Colorado Senate. She went to school at the Universityof Nebraska and received her law degree.Asked why she is considering another run at elective office, Klanderudsaid, “because people kept coming up to me and asking me aboutit.”And local businessman Charlie Tarver, who has been deeply involvedin a number of political issues and served on numerous advisoryboards, commissions and task forces, said he, too is consideringwhether to throw his hat into the political ring.”Many people have asked me to consider running,” said Tarver fromhis shop on Friday, referring to a possible bid for the mayor’sjob.Tarver refused to go any further than to say he is “interested”in this spring’s council race.According to the city clerk’s office, candidate petitions willbe available on March 15, and must be turned in by April 5, bearingthe signatures of 25 qualified electors per candidate.Absentee voting applications are available now, and absentee votingitself will begin on April 19. There will be no “early voting”in the municipal election.

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