Nominating petitions available for 2023 election |

Nominating petitions available for 2023 election

Seven potential candidates have picked their nominating petitions.

The Aspen Times

As of Friday afternoon, seven potential candidates for the Aspen City Council and mayor’s seat in the March 7, 2023, election had picked up nominating petitions.

The period for the nominating petitions opened Tuesday for two City Council positions, with four-year terms, and for mayor, who serves a two-year term. Petitions with at least 25 signatures are due to the City Clerk’s Office before 5 p.m., Dec. 27.

Mayor Torre and council member Skippy Mesirow will be running for re-election, and both have picked up their nominating petitions. Torre was first elected mayor in 2019 and then again in 2021. If he wins in March, it will be his third and final term due to term limits. 

Bill Guth, Sam Rose, Ryan O’Donnell, Grayson Bauer, and Michael Buysse have also picked up petitions, according to the City Clerk’s Office. 

Bill Guth is a local Realtor who co-led an effort in the past year to repeal a City Council ordinance that 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 Aspen Board of Realtors filed against the city of Aspen over Ordinance 27, which aimed to ban short-term rentals and real-estate development but ultimately was rendered moot by a court ruling on a technicality.  

Michael Buysse ran as an independent in the Pitkin County sheriff’s race this year, losing in the primary.

Both he and Guth said they were not ready to issue statements when contacted by phone Friday afternoon. 

Sam Rose, a data manager in public health, volunteer firefighter, and member of the planning and zoning commission, ran for the City Council in 2021 and said he is approaching this campaign differently. 

“This time around, I really did feel like there was some change that could happen for the better as far as child care, the living lab, empty spaces in town, stalled projects,” he said. “I think being on the Planning and Zoning Commission has prepared me to be on City Council.”

Grayson Bauer is the Hallam Lake site and programs coordinator for Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. 

And, Ryan O’Donnell appears to be a former general manager/owner of restaurant Ellina, according to a LinkedIn profile and a look at the restaurant’s website. The Times was unable to contact him directly on Friday.

In order to be included on the ballot, a prospective candidate must pick up a petition from the City Clerk’s Office and collect 25 signatures from registered Aspen voters. They do not need to indicate for which office they want to run until they return their petition.

One person can sign for both a mayoral race petition and a City Council petition. But, a signature will not count across two City Council petitions. Sometimes people will collect a signature from someone not registered to vote in the city of Aspen.

“We tell everyone to get more than (25) to make up for an overlap of signatures,” said City Clerk Nicole Henning. “If someone doesn’t live in Aspen, it covers them, as well.”

Council member Rachel Richards announced in October that she will not run for re-election, bringing a nearly 30-year career in public office to a close — and allowing time for potential replacements to consider running, she has said.  

In 2020, the City Council passed a $1,000 pay raise for council members. The monthly compensation for the office of mayor increased from $2,325 to $3,325, and, for City Council members, it will go from $1,700 to $2,700.

Pay raises only apply to council members elected to office in an election following a pay raise ordinance, according to the city’s Home Charter. Mesirow will be eligible for the pay raise if he wins re-election, as he was first elected in 2019. 


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