Richard Skorman officially launched his bid for Colorado Springs mayor Tuesday, citing his experience as a businessman, nonprofit leader and elected official and pledging to “stabilize and then strengthen city services” and to be “the jobs mayor.”
“We need a solid strategic plan to bring in new, high-paying, environmentally-sound 21st century jobs,” Skorman said, “and a plan to help grow our own local companies.”
“The infrastructure and the basic services the city provides aren’t sexy,” Skorman continued. “But they’re critical for our citizens, our quality of life and for the viability of our city.”
The event in the Carnegie Reading Room at the Penrose Library downtown drew an overflow crowd of hundreds of supporters, including former City Council member Jim Null and current Vice Mayor Larry Small. While Small didn’t speak at the rally, he said he plans to formally endorse Skorman next week.
Skorman was introduced by several prominent local residents, including former Manitou Mayor Marcy Morrison and Hall of Fame Yankee pitcher Richard “Goose” Gossage.
Skorman-owned downtown businesses include Poor Richard’s Restaurant, Poor Richard’s Bookstore, Little Richard’s Toy Store, Rico’s Coffee, Chocolate and Wine Bar, and Conservation Hardware.
His involvement in the community includes serving on city council as a council member and as vice mayor, heading the successful 1997 and 2003 TOPS initiatives, and serving as board chair for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments.
Skorman announced an exploratory effort in early December, saying that he would only run if he could get pledges for at least $50,000 and 250 campaign volunteers by mid-January. A week later, he committed to the race, saying that he had already exceeded both goals.
Tuesday afternoon, the campaign reported total contributions of $21,000 from 92 individual donors, not including a $5,000 loan from Skorman.
In past races, Skorman has successfully attracted hundreds of small contributors. Running for a second term on city council in 2003, he raised more than $70,000, far more than any other council candidate.
This year’s mayoral campaign may call upon all of Skorman’s fundraising skills. Seasoned local political observers have estimated that the successful candidate may need to raise as much as $500,000.
Three rival candidates have jump-started their campaigns with substantial personal loans, including Steve Bach ($24,000), Buddy Gilmore, ($100,000) and Brian Bahr ($100,000). Bahr has also pledged to match the first $100,000 he receives in contributions.