Maurice Emmer says he won’t run for Aspen mayor in 2015
Maurice Emmer was the first person to declare his candidacy for Aspen mayor in the May 2015 election. Now he’s the first person to back out.
Emmer confirmed this week that he has shelved plans to run for the city’s highest elected position. Emmer’s about-face comes after he announced two days after the May 2013 mayoral election that he would be aiming for the same office two years later. Emmer drew 396 votes, or 17.8 percent, in the May 2013 contest, good enough for third place. Steve Skadron prevailed in the following June runoff over then-Councilman Torre.
Emmer, who is in London, said in an email to The Aspen Times that Aspen’s political climate today is different from what it was nearly two years ago, which is why he no longer feels compelled to run for mayor. He said he would consider running for a seat on the City Council, however.
“I ran in 2013 for what I saw as the well-being of our community,” Emmer said. “I have been observing how the current mayor (Skadron) and City Council are functioning. The mayor is much more polite and inclusive than the previous mayor (Mick Ireland). He has not been a puppet of Mick. So I don’t need to run in 2015 to try to rid the city government of another tyrant.”
Even so, Emmer remains critical of Aspen city government, but he said there doesn’t appear to be major concern among Aspen residents over the issues that concern him. The recent parking scandal, Emmer noted, “may be only the tip of the iceberg of financial mismanagement in the city government.”
Emmer said that the City Council’s lodging-incentive ordinance, while well-intentioned, was “ill-conceived in my opinion.” After public outcry and a petition drive last month to bring the issue to voters through a referendum, the City Council rescinded the ordinance, which would have loosened regulations for lodge developers.
“There is a need for a mayor and City Council to take a much stronger hand investigating city operations and cleaning house if needed,” Emmer said. “These are the two areas where a stronger City Council should act: lodging (and development generally) and cleaning house in City Hall.
“These are my opinions about the areas of most pressing need. But I do not sense a widespread concern about these issues among the citizens. If there is widespread concern, it isn’t apparent. The citizens would support me and elect me only if they wanted sweeping change in the areas I have indicated here. Not foreseeing a general demand for such change, therefore, I do not intend to run for mayor.”
Emmer, a retired tax attorney, said he was motivated to announce his 2015 candidacy in 2013 because other candidates accused him of jumping into the race and splitting the voter base. In the 2013 mayoral contest, all four City Council members at the time gunned for the office, along with Emmer and L.J. Erspamer.
“We congratulate the successful candidates on their effective campaigns,” Emmer said in a statement issued at the time. “We noted, however, that at least one other campaign blamed its loss on the number of candidates rather than on their own shortcomings. While our campaign welcomes all comers, we are troubled by the argument from a candidate that his loss is attributed to there being others in the race.
“Accordingly, we are announcing now that we will be in the race for mayor in two years so that others who believe the number of candidates should be limited are on notice that if they join the race they will be doing what they have accused others of doing.”
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