Two candidates pull out of Basalt council race |

Two candidates pull out of Basalt council race

Two candidates for Basalt Town Council dropped out of the race Tuesday to lend their support to other candidates.

Mark Kwiecienski and Bel Carpenter withdrew prior to the 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday and won’t be on the ballot for the April 5 election. That leaves six candidates in the running for three council seats. The candidates are incumbents Rob Leavitt and Herschel Ross as well as challengers Leroy Duroux, Jen Riffle, Auden Schendler and Katie Schwoerer.

The election is at-large, meaning the top three vote-getters will win. Kwiecienski said he and Carpenter made a strategic decision to withdraw and lend their support to other candidates.

“Bel Carpenter and I discussed the risk of diluting the vote among those who understand the multitude of important topics, including balancing the River Park opportunities as well as those of affordable housing and the pedestrian underpass, and we agreed that it would be best for us to withdraw to be make sure that Basalt got the representation it needs,” Kwiecienski said in a statement to The Aspen Times. “Katie Schwoerer and Jen Riffle are without question what Basalt now needs.”

Carpenter confirmed that he is endorsing Schwoerer and Riffle in the race. He said he is very passionate about Basalt, where he has lived for nearly 20 years, and would do anything to help its long-term interests. He said he sees a lot of divisiveness in town right now and had aimed to bring people together. However, it isn’t the best time for him to run for office he said. He owns and operates yoga studios with his wife in Basalt and Carbondale.

Kwiecienski said in his statement: “I am convinced that both Katie and Jen have the courage and the desire to stand up and listen to and represent the public, as they are beholden to none other than the public at large.” (See the statement in its entirety on page A15.)

The election for the three council seats and mayor’s position will be held April 5. Ballots will be mailed the week of March 14.

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