Mayoral race swells to four | AspenTimes.com
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Mayoral race swells to four

City Councilman Terry Paulson and one of his closely aligned political supporters, Bert Myrin, emerged Friday as candidates for mayor in the May election, joining incumbent Helen Klanderud and Councilman Torre in the race.The deadline for candidates to file petitions was 5 p.m. yesterday. Myrin, an active local resident who frequently finds himself at odds with city government’s direction, brought in his petition minutes before the cutoff. Paulson dropped off his paperwork at the city clerk’s office earlier in the day.The two men bring few differences to the mayoral slate politically. They are almost always on the same side of an issue and, in fact, plan to be each other’s campaign treasurers, Myrin said.”Both of us have similar principles,” he conceded.Myrin downplayed the suggestion that their strategy is to split the vote enough that no candidate wins a majority on May 3, forcing a June runoff between the two top vote-getters.Two years ago, Klanderud beat both Paulson and challenger Andrew Kole by a wide margin. At the time, Klanderud and Paulson were perceived as council members who shared many of the same views.That has changed, according to Paulson, who suspects Klanderud has lost some of her base of support as the council has pursued a pro-growth agenda that includes developing the controversial Burlingame Ranch housing and loosening the city’s land-use restrictions.”I just never got a clear direction from Helen on what she wanted to protect in this town,” Paulson said.As mayor, Paulson said, he’d take a more businesslike approach to the office, calling Klanderud a “socialite.”The pace of development in Aspen and fear that there will be a renewed push for a four-lane highway into town – the so-called “straight shot” alignment of Highway 82 – are fueling Paulson’s mayoral bid, he said.Said Myrin: “I’m on a slow-growth or no-growth campaign. I think I would take the town in a direction very different from the current course. I’m not sure there’s a voter base here that’s just bent on development.”Paulson, 54, will be forced off the council this spring by term limits unless he prevails in the mayoral race. Torre, in the middle of his first term on the council, will retain his seat if he is unsuccessful in his mayoral bid.Klanderud is seeking her third and final term as mayor.Myrin and Paulson both assessed the four-way mayoral race as an election between two pairs of like-minded candidates – Klanderud and Torre, and Myrin and Paulson.”Torre and I … with some exceptions, are basically on the same page,” Klanderud agreed. “We support the same things – for the most part appear to be going in the same direction.”You know, you can vote for me and still have Torre,” she added, acknowledging his unfinished council term. “That’s not the case with Terry. He has to run for mayor or he’s off the council.”Torre, 35, was a relative unknown when he ran for mayor in a four-way race in 2001; Klanderud, 67, won her first term in that election. Torre returned in 2003 and captured a council seat from then-incumbent Tony Hershey in a runoff vote. He is a tennis pro at the Aspen Club and Spa.After Paulson’s entry into the race by midday yesterday, Torre said he was unconcerned by the growing field of candidates.”I feel great about my chances with or without a third participant in the election,” he said. “It doesn’t change my thinking. I feel I’m the best candidate. I think I bring a lot to the table in terms of energy, ideas and representation.” Myrin, 37, is an attorney specializing in estate planning. He has clashed with the council on various occasions, most recently after he was denied a chance to speak at a late-running council meeting. He was removed from the city Planning and Zoning Commission in 2003 and has unsuccessfully applied for appointment to the P&Z and other city boards since then. He was a candidate for the council in 2003, but then withdrew from the race in time to keep his name off the ballot.Paulson works in guest services for United Express at the local airport and drives a taxi.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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