April 21, 2003
Borrowing from a strategy put forth by an Aspen Times columnist, Pitkin County Republicans are urging supporters of Tony Hershey to participate in “a possible winning strategy” to retain the incumbent city councilman in office.
A letter from Pitkin County Republicans, circulated last week, suggested Republicans vote only for Hershey in the May 6 election, though city voters may vote for two candidates. Two seats are up for election next month.
Candidates must collect 45 percent of the votes cast plus one to win a seat in the first round of balloting. Otherwise, the top vote-getters will face each other in a June 3 runoff. By voting for Hershey and no one else, his backers can increase his chances of winning re-election in the first round, the letter notes. Hershey is a Republican.
The letter credits the idea to Times columnist Su Lum, who recently urged voters to get behind just one candidate – she supported challenger Tom Peirce – and “let the others whack it out in a free-for-all for the other seat.”
If one candidate receives 45 percent of the votes, plus one, that individual will win a seat without facing a runoff, while the second and third finishers vie for the other seat in a runoff. If no one in the field of nine candidates garners enough votes to win in May, the top four vote-getters will advance to a June runoff and the top two finishers in that election will win.
“No one agrees with Tony on all the issues, but the Pitkin County Central Committee believes Tony Hershey best represents our Republican values and ideals and has endorsed him,” the letter states.
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The party committee decided to distribute the letter, suggesting the “just vote for Hershey” strategy, said Linda McCausland, party chairwoman in Pitkin County. She said she did not know how many voters received the letter.
There are 3,022 registered Republicans in the county, according to the clerk and recorder’s office. There are also 3,608 registered Democrats and 4,959 unaffiliated voters.
Hershey said the letter was the party’s doing and not his, but he called the cast-one-vote concept “an interesting strategy.”
Nonetheless, Hershey said he intends to cast two votes in the council race – for himself and fellow incumbent Tom McCabe.