Loveland Mayor Pro Tem John Fogle was riding the easy train to Mayor of Loveland after current Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez endorsed Fogle upon announcing he would not seek another term. No credible opponent had yet entered the race. As the deadline looms this Monday, August 28, for candidates to submit petitions to appear on the ballot for council or mayor there appeared only one possible opponent of Fogle; former Loveland Councilman Larry Heckel.
Fogle was elected to his current 4-year term on Loveland's City Council in November of 2015 as the only candidate on the ballot from Ward III. Fogle did have two opponents during his first run in 2011, when he ran as a "conservative" with support of then colleagues Hugh McKean and David Clark. Once elected, Fogle appeared to enjoy playing the swing vote on a sometimes divided council and became an unpredictable vote for the Republicans eventually switching sides to create a partisan Democratic majority on Loveland's City Council.
Heckel's council career ended back in 2011 (along with his business) for a number of reasons not the least of which were his insulting and uncouth comments made from the dais. Here he was caught berating and insulting an elderly colleague for asking questions regarding an illegally conducted private vote to acquire the property along I-25 next to Highway 402. The victim of Heckel's verbal abuse, Councilman Walt Skowron, later succumbed to liver cancer. see video
Despite attempts by Councilman Dave Clark, Heckel's long-term friend and fellow former local contractor, to find influential endorsements for Heckel, his candidacy appeared as anemic as his last term on Loveland's City Council. Both Heckel and Fogle are competing for Centerra's influential developer McWhinney's support along with the usual cast of characters who form Loveland's special interests.
Jacki Marsh Enters the Race
Today, Loveland downtown property and business owner, Jacki Marsh, filed a petition with Loveland's City Clerk to be added to the ballot as a candidate for mayor. Marsh had been looking at a run for City Council but backed out when a friend entered the race for Ward II where she resides.
Marsh, a frequent attendee and speaker at Loveland City Council meetings, told LovelandPolitics she was surprised to see Heckel and other candidates suddenly begin taking an interest in city council by attending meetings this past month.
Marsh squared-off against Fogle and Clark last Tuesday during a study session when the two men were promoting a new $70 tax and city inspection requirement for Loveland residents replacing water heaters, air conditioning or heaters. Marsh has complained the current city council is too responsive to staff and special interests instead of the residents they are supposed to be representing.
The race appears to be between Fogle and Marsh. The two provide Loveland voters a choice between the status quo or a change agent anxious to reform Loveland's city government into a more resident focused governing body.