Hauenstein takes early fundraising lead among candidates in city council race
by Curtis Wackerle, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
Incumbent leads challenger in mayoral race
The first campaign finance reports of the 2017 municipal election cycle show that council candidate Ward Hauenstein has far out raised anyone else in the race.
Hauenstein, an IT professional whose history in city politics is highlighted by his work mounting successful referendum campaigns against the Castle Creek hydro plant in 2012 and the Base 2 lodging proposal in 2015, raised $8,144 from 58 donors, according to reports filed with the city clerk’s office covering fundraising and spending through April 11. Both the total fundraising amount and number of itemized donations are more than double what the next-closest candidate reported this week.
Among Hauenstein’s donors are mayoral candidate Lee Mulcahy and frequent political commentator Maurice Emmer, both of whom gave $250. Hauenstein spent $4,683, leaving him with $3,461 on hand. The election, in which voters will pick two council candidates out of a six-person field and decide a two-way mayor’s race, is on May 2, with a potential runoff June 6.
Council candidate Torre had the second largest haul, bringing in $3,362 from 20 different people who made itemized donations. Torre also collected $287 in “non-itemized” contributions from 27 individuals who each gave less than $20 and thus are not required to be identified on city reports. Torre’s donors include over-development foes Michael Behrendt, the owner of the St. Moritz lodge who gave $250, and Junee Kirk, who also gave $250.
After spending $2,701, Torre, a former council member, television host and tennis instructor, has $660 on hand.
Skippy Mesirow, the chair of the planning and zoning commission and a founder of the city’s next generation advisory board, reported $2,384 in donations via 18 separate contributions. He also received $1,424 in “non-monetary” contributions including donated video, web and design services.
Mersirow’s monetary donors include developers John Sarpa, who gave $250, and Michael Brown, an owner of the approved-but-unbuilt Lift One Lodge near the base of Lift 1A.
Ann Mullins, one of two incumbents in the race, raised $2,175 through 25 contributions, including a $250 check from former mayor Bill Stirling. Mullins spent $2,740, leaving her with a negative campaign balance of $565.
Art Daily, the other incumbent, raised only $250 from two donors, but contributed $1,257 of his own money to support $1,257 in campaign spending.
Council candidate Sue Tatem, an artist and retired professor, raised no money but spent $186.
In the mayor’s race, two-term incumbent Steve Skadron raised $2,300 from 16 donors, including $250 from former Pitkin County Democratic Party Chair Blanca O’Leary and $250 from Bill Budinger, who led the opposition to a brewpub, event space and shared workspace proposal for the former Aspen Art Museum site that Skadron voted to reject in spring 2016 after more than a year of negotiating. The mayor also had $1,380 in cash on hand left over from a previous campaign. Skadron spent $827, leaving him with $2,853 on hand.
Mulcahy, the artist and former ski instructor who is Skadron’s only challenger in the race, raised $500 from two donors, one of whom is Tatem.