Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he’ll seek re-election in April.
“I will not make a formal announcement until January but will use the next four months to organize a campaign and raise funds for it,” he said.
Suthers, former Colorado attorney general, won his mayoral seat in an April 2015 runoff against former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, the only woman elected to that office. He replaced Mayor Steve Bach, who did not seek re-election.
“I am pleased with the progress the city has made in the last 3½ years in meeting a variety of challenges, and I look forward to continuing that momentum in a second term,” Suthers said.
Suthers headed a charge resurrecting a controversial set of stormwater fees last November, money that can be spent only on 71 projects to mitigate floodwaters and pollutants that have harmed downstream communities. But the new fees freed about $17 million a year in the city’s general fund, and it’s earmarked to raise salaries, hire more police officers and firefighters and improve transportation.
In July, the city, Colorado College and the Switchbacks minor league soccer team announced plans to build a 10,000-seat outdoor stadium in southwest downtown, to serve as the Switchbacks’ new home as early as the 2020 season. A 3,000-seat indoor arena for the Colorado College men’s hockey team will be erected on the south side of campus.
Both projects make up the fourth and final piece in the $120.5 million City for Champions initiative proposed in 2013 to boost the downtown economy by bringing in hundreds of thousands of new, out-of-state visitors each year.
“At this stage of my career, my focus is on becoming a good ancestor,” Suthers said. “I view continuing my public service as mayor of Colorado Springs as a great opportunity to do that.”
The April election also will decide on a replacement for at-large City Councilman Merv Bennett, who is term-limited, and on the at-large seats of first-term Councilmen Bill Murray and Tom Strand.
Murray said he plans to seek re-election. “Someone has to watch John,” he quipped.
Strand said he’s mulling his options and should decide by the end of the month. More than a year ago, he announced his intention to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 5th Congressional District. He withdrew that bid in December, saying he’d rather shoot for Lamborn’s seat in 2020.
Candidates can’t pick up their nomination papers until Jan. 2, said City Clerk Sarah Johnson. They’ll have until Jan. 22 to collect 100 signatures from resident voters to earn a spot on the ballot.
Suthers’ announcement comes earlier than most, Johnson said. But candidates can begin fundraising now. Those who raise or spend more than $20 on a race must file campaign finance reports in October, November and December, she said.
“Incumbents tend to come out earlier, just because they’re incumbents,” Johnson said. “A lot of people will wait until after the November cycle. It’s a big decision to run, especially since these races are citywide.”
Anyone wishing to run for office in the April municipal election must be a U.S. citizen, at least 25 years old, a resident for at least a year before the election and a registered voter.