Carpenter cruises, mayor race too close to call

November 3, 2009

With votes still to be counted, Manitou Springs had thrown its support behind Matt Carpenter in the contentious Ward 3 race.

Carpenter, known for his many victories in the Pikes Peak Marathon, had garnered 70 percent of the vote, handily defeating innkeeper Karen Cullen,

At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Manitou Springs mayoral race was in a dead heat, with the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder reporting Manitou Springs Councilman Marc Snyder with 48.27 percent of the vote, edging opponent Rick Barry by 1.5 percent.

The third candidate, Nancy Barnes, garnered 5 percent of the vote.

Manitou Springs residents also overwhelmingly supported ballot measure 2D, with 77 percent of the votes approving the measure that will amend the city’s charter to free up a sixth of the city’s sales tax for uses other than land acquisitions, construction, major equipment purchases and road improvements.

In a campaign that eschewed signs or large contributions, Carpenter thought his running (literally) to 863 homes was a big factor in his victory.

“I thought it was a small enough ward that I could go around and talk to constituents and see what they were feeling,” Carpenter said. “I didn’t pull a list of registered voters; I wanted to talk to everyone.”

Carpenter said the defeat of ballot measure 2C in Colorado Springs would affect Manitou as well. He was glad for the win, but reacted to the news by thinking, “It’s time to get to work. It’s a lot like my running races. I’m not too big on the celebration side. You prepare, you do the best you can.”

Looking toward January and apologizing for the pun, Carpenter said he really thought he could “hit the ground running. I’ve been going to council meetings forever. The only thing that will change is which side of the dais I’m sitting on. My number one thing is to get back to where everybody in Manitou has a voice again.”

Cullen said she was disappointed, but had no regrets about the way she ran her campaign.

“I really feel that I spoke to the community and had a lot of support,” she said. “I am just hoping for whatever’s best for the community and whatever the community feels is right.”

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