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October 31, 2011 10:56 PM UTC

Election 2011 Roundup

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  • by: Colorado Pols

Not with a bang but with characteristically timid whimper, the 2011 election cycle in Jeffco is coming to a close. With it ends one of the least captivating political narratives in recent memory: few voters are really paying attention and even fewer offices are really contested.

Still, 2011’s municipal cycle will likely launch and further a few political careers in Jeffco, so we’ve included our take on all the municipal races below.

Arvada

Mayor: We expect City Councilman Marc Williams will cruise to election as Mayor tomorrow evening. Williams has been active on Council since he was first elected over a decade ago, and his opponents haven’t really made the case – or even tried to make the case – that Williams shouldn’t be the next Mayor.

District 2: Although candidate Cody McNutt has run a pretty visible campaign – complete with a visibly poor yard sign – incumbent Mark McGoff remains popular in much of the city as a whole. We expect McGoff’s higher name ID and record of community involvement will be enough to carry him to a second term. That said, if there’s any single “outsider” candidate who could beat their incumbent opponent this cycle, McNutt would be the guy. That is, only if voters haven’t seen his really creepy YouTube videos.

At-Large: Cell phone repair guru Bob Fifer has run an impressive campaign. He’s done everything a candidate in his position needs to do, garnering endorsements from around the county and connecting with high-profile Arvada activists. His opponent Ed Tomlinson has remained all but invisible, so there’s no reason to think that Fifer won’t pull off a win.  

Golden

Mayor: Jacob Smith’s name won’t appear on the ballot this year, but his endorsee’s will: Marjorie Sloan’s done a good job on Council and Smith has worked hard to make sure she’s his successor. We haven’t heard buzz enough about this race to indicate that Wayne Weber could upset Sloan.

District 1: Saorise Charis-Graves‘ name might not roll off the tongue, but fortunately, she’s not running as a write-in. Like in the Mayor’s race, we haven’t heard of any widespread support for Graves’ opponent Richard Feltes.

District 2: Marcie Miller represented this same district from 2001-2005 and she’s remained involved in Golden politics in the intervening years. Libertarian Steve Gallant has run a decent campaign, but Golden is the kind of town where name ID from 10 years ago still carries weight. Miller wins.

Lakewood

Mayor: It’s a foregone conclusion: Bob Murphy wins re-election. He might have an opponent, but there’s really no two ways about it.

Ward 1 (Full Term): Karen Kellen is the only incumbent Lakewood councilor to have an opponent this cycle, and that’s more a result of esoteric community issues than it is a slight against Kellen. Kellen remains popular in Ward 1, and will likely trounce newcomer Catherine Kenter.

Ward 1 (Unexpired Term): The race to fill the vacancy created by Vicki Stack’s resignation would’ve been a lot more exciting if Dave Ruchman had mounted a campaign: we were itching to watch a political fight in which two consistent electoral losers campaigned against each other. When Ruchman declined to run, attorney Briana Peterson jumped into the race. Rumor has it Peterson wasn’t exactly ready to run this year – her lack of visibility has given Johnson the best shot at actually getting elected to something in years. Johnson might not have an astounding record of success, but she’s been out campaigning, at least. We can’t say the same of Peterson, and we think that’s the reason Lakewood’s politicos are widely anticipating Councilwoman Ramey Johnson. We are too.

Ward 3: In the most interesting electoral battle in Lakewood this year, candidates Carolyn Evans, Pedro Roybal, and Mark Barrington have been facing off to win the seat being vacated by Ed Peterson. We originally thought this would be a competitive race, but Barrington has been invisible and Roybal has burned every bridge in the city. As a result, Lakewood’s political establishment has coalesced behind Evans. We think that support should lead Evans to victory, but might still be tight.

Also of note, incumbent candidates Cindy Baroway, Adam Paul, and Tom Quinn all remain popular and consequently uncontested this cycle. It’s been rumored that each may be interested in a run for Mayor when Murphy is termed out in 2015, so while all 3 will win in 2011, their victories will set the stage for a major skirmish in the future.

Wheat Ridge

District 1: There are four candidates in the District 1 race, and each have their strengths and weaknesses. Jesse Hill’s candidacy has turned a lot of heads – Hill’s young, but has a unique blend of experience that garnered him the Wheat Ridge Transcript endorsement. That said, William “Bud” Starker has out-raised all of his opponents combined and counts influential consultant David Cole as a donor. The construction company owner has also garnered endorsements from much of Golden’s political class. We think Starker will eke out a win.

District 2: This race is even more competitive than its counterpart in District 1. Lily Griego scored the Transcript endorsement and has perhaps the longest list of qualifications, but George Vendegnia is close with Mayor Jerry Ditulio, and Kristi Davis has earned the support of several prominent Wheat Ridge Democrats.  Zachary Urban’s ability to self-finance most of his campaign operations has kept him competitive. It’s a toss-up.

District 3: Incumbent Tracy Langworthy is being challenged by Planning Commission member Tracy Guildner. Are you following all that? We think that Langworthy will likely keep her seat, but confused voters may forget which Tracy they’re voting for, especially since both have been so heavily involved in Wheat Ridge government. The general lack of voter dissatisfaction in Wheat Ridge, though, probably helps the incumbent, especially when her opponent is so similarly qualified.

Treasurer: Larry Schulz is an icon in Wheat Ridge, and his name ID was only elevated by his ultimately unsuccessful bid for Jefferson County Clerk last year. There’s no reason Schulz won’t get re-elected.

Clerk: Paradoxically, twenty-something political newcomer Leah Dozeman has run the best campaign of the four candidates vying for Clerk. She’s raised the most money – critically important for direct mail – and has had the highest visibility. Still, former Councilwoman Janelle Shaver probably bests Dozeman in name ID and hasn’t had to answer any awkward questions about her age, experience, or desire for the job. We think Shaver will pull off a win, though we won’t be surprised if Dozeman is elected tomorrow night despite the incredibly poor way in which she’s framed her candidacy.

What say you, Polsters? Although the voters will have the final word tomorrow night, where do you think we got it wrong?  

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