The spin cycle has just begun |

The spin cycle has just begun

A sampling of campaign information from two of Aspen's mayoral candidates: Mick Ireland, left, and Tim Semrau. (Paul Conrad/Aspen Times photo illustration)

ASPEN ” The 2007 Aspen mayoral campaign is moving full steam ahead, and already the campaign styles of the three candidates are beginning to diverge.

Thus far it appears Tim Semrau has a slight technological edge over Mick Ireland, who is focusing on traditional campaign literature.

Councilman Torre, in the meantime, is holding back on what he called an “annoyance” to voters ” the tradition­al outpouring of political literature early in a campaign.

“I find too much paper to be an annoyance … I like to do low-impact campaigning,” Torre said Monday. “You don’t have to beat voters over the head with your message.”

An attorney and a former Pitkin County commissioner, Ireland prints his traditional campaign literature from home on sheets of paper or business card stock. The card sports a stylized drawing of a bicycle and a quote from Chinese Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu: “Work for the people’s benefit. Trust in them.”

The packet of information, held together and fastened to doorknobs with a strip of blue masking tape, con­tains a voter registration form, a sum­mary sheet of Ireland’s position on sev­eral issues and a yellow flier declaring, “Your vote in Aspen really counts!”

“That blue tape, that’s my little call­ing card,” Ireland joked.

Semrau, a developer and former city councilman, is using professionally pro­duced political fliers with a sleeve pocket holding a DVD, which features an interview with the candidate taken with a home video camera.

“That’s why it looks kind of ama­teur,” Semrau said. The DVD features edited segments detailing a brief history of the candidate’s life, starting with his boyhood in Chicago; a summary of his move to Colorado and his start as a developer; and his views on a number of topics, among other material.

Both Ireland and Semrau have put up detailed websites, and, offering video clips and position state­ments, as well as ways to contribute and endorse the candidate. Torre’s campaign website,, should be online this week.

Neither Ireland nor Semrau was sure how much he has spent on literature, Web services and other costs, though Ireland said, “We’ve spent several thousand at least, although we haven’t gotten the bills yet.”

To help spread message, the three can­didates have taken similarly different tacks.

Semrau has hired public relations spe­cialist Jeanette Darnauer, although he said, “I’m my own campaign manager.”

While Ireland has a graphic designer to help with artwork and Margie Wilkinson working on his website, he said the two “call the shots, that’s for sure.”

Torre has no public relations team help­ing him: “I do all my own planning,” he said. “I do all my own stuff.”

In the next couple of weeks, Torre said he will turn up his voter registration and voter education efforts; he will rely mainly on his website rather than on printed litera­ture.

“That’s always my primary focus at this stage of the campaign,” he said.

Candidates are circulating nominating petitions, which they must turn in to the city clerk’s office by April 6 with a mini­mum of 25 signatures from qualified local voters.

Election Day is May 8.

John Colson’s e-mail address is

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