UPDATE: Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff:
Mobolade pitched himself to voters as a moderate who would make Colorado Springs an “inclusive, culturally rich, economically prosperous, safe and vibrant” city. He struck broad notes of agreement with Williams and other conservatives when it came to tough approaches to issues of crime, policing and homelessness, and he rejected Williams’ claims that he supported collective bargaining rights for city employees.
But his election as an independent in the heart of deep-red El Paso County could spell a seismic shift in Colorado politics, cementing a shift towards Democratic control that has turned key swing districts in metro Denver solidly blue and traditionally highly conservative areas to the south into the next battlegrounds. Some election watchers on Tuesday night predicted that U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, could face a competitive race in the 5th Congressional District in 2024.
To cheers from his supporters, Mobolade embraced the city’s potential political transformation in his victory speech Tuesday.
“To anyone who doubts that politics can be disrupted, reformed and transformed into a hopeful experience, tonight is for you,” he said. “We showed it can be done.”
Earth-shaking news from Colorado’s erstwhile bastion of conservatism, as former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams has lost the Colorado Springs mayoral runoff to political newcomer and local entrepreneur Yemi Mobolade after a brief but nasty campaign:
Williams says he’s called Mobolade to concede.
— Spencer Soicher KRDO (@spencersoicher) May 17, 2023
It’s going to take some time to process the full implications of this election, but Democrats are heralding Mobolade’s win as a turning point in El Paso County politics–despite the fact that Mobolade is very much a self-made winner:
— Shad Murib 🤠 (@ShadMurib) May 17, 2023
We’ll update with coverage and reactions as they come in. But be assured, this is a very big deal. One of the last conservative municipal strongholds in a state that has been trending blue for decades has fallen. If you’re one of the Republicans who took ex-chair Kristi Burton Brown’s advice last year to fall back on municipal races to rebuild–or in a city like Aurora where Republicans pulled off a crypto-partisan takeover under Mayor Mike Coffman–this result should make you very nervous.