The recent resignation by Loveland Councilwoman Cathleen McEwen has opened up the "swing" vote on Loveland's City Council as both the liberal and conservative wings of the legislative body (numbering 4 from each side) scour Loveland's Ward IV for possible candidates to serve out the remainder of McEwen's 4-year term; in hopes of breaking the partisan deadlock in their favor.
McEwen resigned with just over 1-year remaining on her 4-year term on Loveland's City Council. Any adult registered to vote who has lived consecutively for the past 12 months within the boundaries of Ward IV is eligible to run. Hopeful candidates can collect a petition from the Loveland City Clerk no more than 91 days before the election (this Tuesday August 7) and begin circulating petitions to become a candidate. Each candidate will need to collect 25 nominating signatures of qualified electors to have their name placed on the ballot to appear in the November 6, 2012 election.
Last Friday, former Councilwoman Cathleen McEwen huddled for coffee with former council rival and Ward II representative Carol Johnson at the Starbucks on Highway 34 in Loveland. Johnson was the only incumbent in 2011 who was defeated. Ward II is now represented by Councilman Phil Farley who defeated Johnson by a landslide. Johnson tried to inject more partisan politics into her bid for re-election and later wrote a bitter partisan letter denouncing her opponents as "Ft. Collins Democrats" after she lost the election.
While McEwen and Johnson, both local attorneys, were likely mending fences between them, their colleagues still on city council appear more deeply divided than ever before. Unable to select a Mayor Pro Tem, the current council split along partisan lines with votes for Councilman Daryle Klassen (Republican) and Councilwoman Joan Shaffer (Democrat) tied 4 to 4.
Clark Steps Forward
Former Loveland Mayor Pro Tem and Mayoral candidate Dave Clark is reported to be running again for City Council in Ward IV. Clark's home backs Madison Ave. in Loveland inside the far west boundary of Ward IV which stretches east encompassing McWhinney's Centerra, all areas east of I-25 and to the south the portions of Loveland bordering Johnstown.
Clark ran in 2011 for the other City Council seat representing Ward IV but was defeated by Ralph Trenary. Local political pundits theorized Clark along with fellow conservative candidate John Buck divided the more conservative voters in Ward IV allowing Democrat activist Ralph Trenary an easy win. Trenary received only 1,460 votes to Clark's 1,343, a difference of 117 votes deciding the election. Buck, who was supported by largely the same political constituency as Clark, received 1,160 total votes. Had Buck not run for council, the theory goes, Clark and not Trenary would be representing Ward IV on Loveland's City Council. Unlike partisan races where each political party nominates a single candidate, any number of people from the same political party may run for city council (a non-partisan office) provided they collect the requisite 25 qualified signatures.
While no name is certain to appear on the ballot until the candidate's signed petitions are validated by Loveland's City Clerk, Larimer County Republican Party Chairman Mike Fassi was reportedly calling other Republicans who ran in the past from Ward IV to announce the party has already selected a candidate. Likely meant to discourage others from running and splitting the vote again, Fassi provided the news in a tactful and upbeat manner according to one potential candidate who spoke with Fassi.
Loveland's Mayor Cecil Gutierrez along with current Ward IV Councilman Ralph Trenary were encouraging several people to run for City Council who had not run before. However, who the Democrats decide should be their standard bearer in the Ward IV election is not obvious at this time.
While many Lovelanders prefer the "good old days" when a candidate's party affiliation didn't matter, the fact this candidate will decide which side receives the critical 5th vote on a council of 9 means partisan politics from both sides will play a heavy hand in this otherwise non-partisan low-key race for Loveland's City Council.
Familiar Face Stepping-up To Represent Ward IV On Council