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Can Skorman win?

Thu, Dec 16, 2010

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Richard Skorman’s formal entry into the mayoral race makes an already interesting contest absolutely fascinating.

Like Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper, Skorman is a doer, not a fighter. He started his first business, Poor Richard’s Feed & Read, immediately after graduating from Colorado College more than thirty years ago. A third of a century later, it’s still thriving, as are the cluster of businesses that surround it.

Like Hickenlooper, Skorman understands the basic arithmetic of small business. You have to meet payroll, pay your suppliers, offer good service, hire good employees, create a good work environment, and build a customer base – and you have to do it every day.

Like Hickenlooper, Skorman is not a partisan, and he’s not interested in demonizing his political opponents. You won’t see Skorman’s campaign putting out the kind of vicious personal attacks that characterized so many races this fall.

Like Hickenlooper, Skorman has a record of solid accomplishment that any of the other mayoral candidates, rumored or announced, might have difficulty matching.

Unlike Hickenlooper, Skorman is not solidly in the political mainstream of the city he seeks to lead. The Gazette, with its usual lack of subtlety, put up a questionnaire on the paper’s website this morning asking readers of they would vote for Skorman. It wasn’t in a simple “yes,” “no,” “don’t know” format. One of the options was “no, he’s too liberal.”

Thankfully, the city charter mandates that the race for mayor be non-partisan. That’s served the city well. Bob Isaac and Mary Lou Makepeace, arguably the most successful leaders in our city’s long history, could never have won over the far-right voters who dominate Republican primaries. As many moderate candidates have learned to their sorrow, such primaries are our local version of the Spanish Inquisition.

But if Skorman can bleed off Steve Bach’s business support, force Dave Munger to exit the race, and persuade the deep-pocketed Jenkins clan to either stay neutral or support him, he’ll be a formidable candidate.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Paul Abramson Says:

    John, while I’d be more than delighted to see Skorman run and win, it would take an extraordinary confluence of events for that to happen, as you suggested in your final paragraph. If we assume a ceiling of 40% of the vote for any moderate/progressive candidate in Colorado Springs (based on Obama’s 39.67% of the vote in El Paso county) and a more realistic estimate of 30% based on historical data, Skorman needs help from somewhere. I don’t think that the Jenkins folks championed the strong mayor initiative simply for a structural change–I believe it’s much more likely (though I don’t know this) that they had a governing philosophy in mind, if not a specific candidate to execute it. I seriously doubt that Skorman would be their guy. And they are no sideline sitters. It would take an unprecedented coalition of diverse interests for Skorman to pull this off and, while I wish him the best, I don’t see such a coalition forming in Colorado Springs anytime soon.

  2. Rick Wehner Says:

    If in a regressive, repressive Mayberry dominated community such as Colorado Springs – a liberal, progressive gaining as much immediate support as did Richard Skorman, it is a good sign the public has realized the milquetoast anti-tax, anti business Republicans have caused almost irrepairable harm to the region and a pragmatic realist will be required to re-ignite the local economy. Hopefully, Dave Munger will step aside and clear the way for real leadership to walk onto the bridge of a floundering ship.