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Klanderud easily retains seat

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Mayor Helen Klanderud won a resounding victory Tuesday over challengers Terry Paulson and Andrew Kole, retaining her place at the City Council helm for a second term.

Klanderud garnered 62.6 percent of the votes cast in yesterday’s mayoral contest, avoiding the need for a runoff election. Paulson captured 28.2 percent of the votes, and Kole trailed with 8.6 percent.

In the final tally, Klanderud collected 1,168 votes, Paulson had 527 and Kole received 161.

“That’s a vote of confidence that I’m delighted to have,” said a beaming Klanderud, who will find herself in the odd position of serving with two council members she has beat in mayoral contests – Paulson and former Mayor Rachel Richards, who won a council post Tuesday.

The dynamics of that situation, however, don’t worry Klanderud.

“I feel that one of the responsibilities of anyone on the council, and my responsibility as mayor, is to work well with other council members,” she said.

Paulson, who has two more years left in his current term as a councilman before term limits will force him out of office, did not rule out another mayoral bid in 2005.

“You never know,” he said. “This was a good experience.”

Kole, on the other hand, doubts he’ll run again. “Not unless I’m out of my mind,” he said. The outspoken TV talk-show host was trounced two years ago as a council candidate.

This spring’s election appeared more focused on the candidates as people, as opposed to hot-button issues, noted Klanderud. She was the only incumbent up for re-election to escape unscathed as a vocal segment of the community clamored for a City Council make over.

Councilman Tom McCabe was ousted outright, while Tony Hershey faces a runoff battle with Torre for his seat.

“There was a fairly strong focus on replacing council,” Klanderud said. “I seem to have escaped some of those comments or urgings.”

A lot of voter dissatisfaction arose over last year’s conveyance of a new highway easement to the state before Aspenites had another chance to vote on it, she said. Klanderud and Paulson both opposed the conveyance; McCabe and Hershey voted for it, and Hershey challenged the petition-gathering effort by a group of citizens hoping to put the highway alignment issue to a vote.

Voters were “serious about removing them,” Klanderud said.

Paulson suspects his mayoral bid fell victim to what he called the “safety vote.” Since Klanderud and Paulson often agree on the issues, their supporters were reluctant to oust Klanderud in favor of Paulson, preferring to keep them both on the council and hope for the defeat of Hershey and/or McCabe, he reasoned.

While the Hershey/Torre race remains up in the air, the introduction of Richards will bring a better balance to the council, according to Paulson.

For example, though Richards supports Burlingame Ranch, a controversial worker housing project that Paulson opposes, Paulson said he expects her to bring an environmental ethic to its development. “I think we’re going to make it a model project,” he said.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]


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