GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A well-funded and organized campaign by Lyle Beattie to unseat incumbent City Councilman Stephen Bershenyi in Tuesday's election came up just short.
Beattie, who was backed by a long list of movers and shakers in the local business community, ended up losing by only 27 votes to Bershenyi, 761 to 734, in the mail ballot election for an at-large Glenwood Springs City Council seat.
It was the only contested council race in the spring election. Two ward candidates, Matt Steckler in Ward 2 and Leo McKinney in Ward 5, were unopposed in their re-election bids.
Bershenyi will be sworn in at the April 11 council meeting for a second four-year term, along with Steckler and McKinney.
It was a low-key, grassroots effort for Bershenyi, who took in no outside contributions to support his campaign, according to candidate finance reports filed with the Glenwood Springs City Clerk, in accordance with the federal Fair Campaign Practices Act.
Bershenyi, 65, a Glenwood Springs native, blacksmith artist and school bus driver, did spend $926 of his own money on yard signs and newspaper advertising, according to the March 29 reports.
That was in contrast to Beattie's campaign, which collected about $4,200 in individual campaign contributions, according to the final pre-election report. In addition, Beattie put $1,800 of his own money toward his election bid, the report indicates.
The majority of that money, nearly $4,900, had not yet been spent as of five days before the April 2 election. Candidates are required to file a final campaign finance report 30 days after the election.
A list of contributors included with the report shows Beattie, an 89-year-old former Glenwood Springs mayor and councilman and retired longtime local business owner, had strong backing from those in the business community.
Several of Beattie's contributions came from individuals with ties to Glenwood Springs lodging and tourism businesses, ranging from $30 to $500.
One local elected official, Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, also showed up on Beattie's list of contributors, as did former congressman and Glenwood Springs native Scott McInnis.
Beattie, whose four grown children still live and work in Glenwood Springs, previously had served as a councilman for six years in the 1960s, including two years as mayor. He co-owned and operated L-P Gas and Appliance Co. in Glenwood Springs with his brother, Hal, from the mid-1950s until the mid-'90s when he retired and moved to Arizona for 16 years.
City Clerk Robin Unsworth confirmed Thursday that the election canvassing board had validated the results, and that she was prepared to make them official.
The election also had city voters passing a single ballot question, 938 to 507, authorizing the city to sell or convey two publicly owned parcels in the 700 block of Colorado Avenue.
Garfield County has expressed interest in acquiring the parcels to combine with adjacent county holdings for expanded parking in the area.
The election turned out 34 percent of the 4,411 registered active voters in Glenwood Springs who were mailed ballots in mid-March. That was down from the 46 percent turnout in the 2011 city election, when there was one contested race for a council ward seat.