Strong mayor, strong magic and America’s Hogwarts

Thu, Nov 11, 2010


I know, I know – the election’s over. You’re sick of politics, and the preening prattlers who pounce upon piles of corporate cash to get elected.

Too bad for you – it’s strong mayor time! So here’s the latest mix of fact, rumor, speculation, and what-ifs?

Declared: Buddy Gilmore, Brian Bahr, Dave Munger.

Probable: Sean Paige, Steve Bach, Larry Small, Richard Skorman.

Probably not: Steve Bigari, Randy Purvis, Sallie Clark, Jim Bensberg.

As things stand now, Steve Bach appears to have some support in the real estate/business/development community. His support isn’t universal, though. David & Chris Jenkins, for example, have yet to publicly commit to a candidate, and it’s hard to imagine that they don’t have someone in mind. Hence the speculation about Steve Bigari who, despite his lack of political experience, has a powerful and appealing resume.

Independent publisher John Weiss is reportedly pushing a Skorman candidacy. Seasoned political observers agree that Skorman could pick up enough votes to make a runoff, assuming a strong multi-candidate field. Depending upon his opponent, Richard could – go – all – the – way!

Of course, that’s assuming that a Skorman candidacy would lead to a Munger withdrawal, and that seems improbable. Dave has been campaigning too long to fold his tent and obediently go home. More likely, the two would split the liberal/moderate vote, and guarantee a runoff between social/fiscal conservatives.

Gilmore and Bahr are vying for the same Christian conservatives that might be energized by a Bigari candidacy, so it’s hard to handicap them at this point. Bahr, so the rumors say, is prepared to self-finance his campaign rather than kowtow to the self – appointed kingmakers of the business community.

Paige and Small have experience, great name recognition, and attractive public personas. But they’re both outspoken mavericks, and may have difficulty gaining traction in a crowded race. Voters like to keep a few mavericks around, but they usually choose quiet competence over noisy genius. And it may be an advantage to be a new face, with new ideas, and no enemies.

My advice to the candidates: learn from Bennet and Hickenlooper. Their improbable victories had one thing in common: they’re both graduates of Wesleyan University, an obscure “liberal arts” college in Middletown, Conn. There they learned the black arts of politics, and how to cast spells that confuse, dismay, and confound opponents. Wesleyan’s success wasn’t confined to Colorado – graduates of our nation’s equivalent of Hogwarts picked off the Vermont governorship, as well as a bunch of minor offices.

So don’t follow in the footsteps of Andrew Romanoff, Ken Buck, Dan Maes, and Tom Tancredo. It’s clear that they lost through no fault of their own, but through the subtle witchcraft of their Wesleyan – schooled opponents. If a Wesleyan graduate enters the race, just withdraw – a Muggle has no chance against a disciple of the real Albus Dumbledore…Douglas Bennet, Wesleyan ’59, Michael’s father and for many years Wesleyan’s president.

I’d love to give you more info-but my Wesleyan Alumni Magazine just arrived, and I need to catch up on the latest spells…

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Scott Hente Says:


    Valid points, but one big issue that a lot of people keep forgetting is the line in the new charter changes that says “The Mayor shall not hold any other paid employment position during his or her term in office.”

    Does Brian Bahr give up Challenger Homes?
    Does Richard Skorman sell his businesses on Tejon?
    Does Buddy Gilmore quit his job?
    Does Steve Bigari walk away from Mr Biggs?
    Does Sallie Clark tell her Bed & Breakfast staff that it’s coming to an end?
    Does Randy Purvis end his law career?
    Does Sean Paige quit writing his blogs?
    Do I stop building homes? (I know the answer to that one – NO)

    And if we think that somebody can stay on in their current vocation, but not accept compensation, that (in my mind) goes against the will of the voters who said, in so many words, that the new Mayor should devote 100% of his working life to running the City.

    One other thing: I still think it interesting that in 2010, when Republican and Conservative voters, nationwide, said, “we want to downsize government”, what did this bastion of conservative and Republican voters say in Colorado Springs? “We want bigger government.”

  2. John Hazlehurst Says:

    Good point Scott! I hadn’t considered that. I suppose that the mayor could do as Hickenlooper did, and put his/her businessesin a blind trust, but that wouldn’t work for a law practice, or for most small businesses.

    So maybe Tom Gallagher is the only viable candidate!

  3. Dave Gardner Says:

    So, Larry Small has an attractive public persona? What were you smoking while you were writing this, John?!

  4. lisa czelatdko Says:

    Im unemployed and a Quiet Genius, lookout Tom G, hee hee.