Edmonds wins Glenwood Springs City Council Ward 1 seat by 4-vote margin
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Retired longtime travel business owner Ted Edmonds will be the next Ward 1 representative on Glenwood Springs City Council.
Edmonds won the race over first-term incumbent Russ Arensman by a mere four votes, 170 to 166, according to unofficial final results of the mail ballot election that concluded Tuesday evening.
The outcome, though close, is not within the margin to trigger an automatic recount, City Clerk Robin Unsworth said. The vote tally remains unofficial until final canvassing of the ballots later this week.
Edmonds, a political newcomer who enjoyed strong support from the local business community, said he wasn’t necessarily surprised that the vote was close. Ward 1 includes the area west of Grand Avenue from 14th Street to Seventh Street, as well as the Red Mountain neighborhoods and Midland Avenue to 27th Street.
“Having done this now, I agree that more local races should be contested,” Edmonds said while gathered with supporters, including recently elected new Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, at the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub Tuesday night.
“Voters are entitled to know where a candidate stands,” Edmonds said. “I believe voters were presented with two very clearly defined differences in positions between myself and Russ.”
Edmonds cited his business experience as the primary quality he brought to the race. He focused on controlling spending in the city budget amid declining revenues, and emphasized greater support for tourism and businesses in general among the major issues facing the city.
But he also acknowledged he’ll have a learning curve to bring himself up to speed on how the city operates.
“The first order of business will be for me to continue my education and keep learning,” he said. “It’s not appropriate for me to go in try to make changes right away.”
Arensman had touted his experience on council and in city government in general over the past decade, especially as several freshmen members will now be joining City Council.
Elections for three other seats that were up for this spring were canceled since there was only one candidate for each of those seats.
Newcomers Todd Leahy from Ward 3 and Mike Gamba from Ward 4, were automatically elected, along with incumbent at-large member Dave Sturges.
“I want to say congratulations and good luck to Ted Edmonds,” Arensman said from The Pullman restaurant, where he was gathered with supporters on election night.
“I appreciate [Edmonds’] willingness to step up and offer his time and energy to the community, and I’ll do everything I can to help ensure a smooth transition,” he said.
However, Arensman said he believed that he, as well as City Council as a whole and city staff, are being unfairly blamed for the tough economy.
“This recession has been painful for all of us, but placing the blame on our public servants and staff is unfair and, ultimately, unproductive,” Arensman said. “Rather than looking for scapegoats, we need to come together and use all of our resources and ingenuity to create new jobs and restore growth to our economy.”
He added that he also hopes the election puts to rest the suggestion that the city government is unfriendly toward business.
“That perception is unfortunate, and it’s also untrue,” he said. “Now, more than ever, I think we all appreciate the importance of our business community, and especially the tourism, retail and service sectors, which have helped to sustain us during these difficult times.”
Arensman said he wouldn’t rule out seeking appointment to a city board or commission as a way to stay involved, but not right away.
“I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to represent the citizens of Glenwood Springs, and of this ward,” he said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s also been a rewarding and memorable learning experience.
The 336 ballots cast in the election represented about a 46 percent turnout among the 737 active eligible voters in Ward 1 who received ballots, Unsworth said.
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