Municipal election remains up in air

Four file to campaign for mayor, City Council

Mary Jean Rieke smiles as Cortez Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde delivers one of four candidate names drawn from a hat for the municipal election on April 8. Enlargephoto

Mary Jean Rieke smiles as Cortez Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde delivers one of four candidate names drawn from a hat for the municipal election on April 8.

Four candidates, including two incumbents, filed qualifying papers Friday to campaign for a position on the next City Council, but the municipal election may not happen.

City Council incumbents Shawna McLaughlin and Bob Archibeque, former mayor Orly Lucero and challenger Jim Price, a Marine Corps veteran, all met in a City Hall conference room Friday, March 7, to watch each of their names drawn from a hat. The random selection was utilized to determine the placement of their names on the April 8th ballot.

“I want to congratulate each of you for your decision to run for the Cortez city council,” City Manager Shane Hale told the candidates Friday. “Each of you will now have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Whether a municipal election is actually held next month for a vacant mayoral post and three council seats is dependent on at least one additional candidate filing to campaign as a write-in candidate.

“We still don’t know if we will hold an election,” said city clerk Linda Smith.

Smith explained a March 19th deadline is in place for proper write-in candidate affidavits to be filed. If at least one person files a write-in affidavit, the city election would proceed as planned.

“A 2004 city ordinance states if we don’t have more candidates than the offices to be filled, then the election may be cancelled,” Smith said.

No write-in votes would be counted without a filed affidavit of intent from the candidate, Smith added.

Completing two four-year terms, both Mayor Dan Porter and Councilman Matt Keefauver will be forced to relinquish their posts due to term limits. First terms for Archibeque, elected in 2010, and McLaughlin, elected in 2012, are also ending.

On April 8, voters will decide on each of the four posts. To be placed on the ballot, the city required nomination petitions with at least 25 signatures for each candidate.

Candidate hopefuls must also be a registered voter, be 21 or older and have resided within city limits for a minimum of 12 consecutive months proceeding the election date.

Council members Karen Sheek, Ty Keel and Tom Butler will remain in office through 2016.

If an election is held, a new City Council orientation session would be held on April 10, Hale said.

For more, call the city clerk at (970) 564-4008.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com

Archibeque Enlargephoto

Archibeque

McLaughlin Enlargephoto

McLaughlin