Colorado Springs City Councilman James “Mike” O’Malley appeared poised for victory Tuesday night in a successful bid to continue representing the city’s sixth district, its northeastern portion.
Unofficial election results released by the city clerk's office showed O’Malley, 60, besting challenger and teacher Garfield Johnson in the two-way race, garnering 6,394 votes — 61.5% of ballots — compared with Johnson’s 3,987 votes, or 38.4%
The matchup was one of six district races that could determine the direction of council for the next four years. Only the three at-large seats were not facing re-election.
"I'm ready to get to work," O'Malley said Tuesday night, thanking those who supported his campaign.
O’Malley, a U.S. Department of Transportation advisor to U.S. Northern Command, was appointed to the City Council in January after former Councilman Andy Pico was elected to the state legislature.
The former Navy Reserve captain and longtime volunteer firefighter said during his campaign his top priority is ensuring the city is ready for a pending $2.6 to $3 trillion federal infrastructure bill. O’Malley began talks with city staff about making sure as many road projects as possible are "shovel ready" if the federal funding is approved.
"Getting those engineers all ready to get this work started is huge. As Secretary Buttigieg said, 'This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,'" O'Malley said Tuesday, paraphrasing U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's comments earlier this month that the U.S. has a unique opportunity to improve its transportation infrastructure under the Biden administration.
O’Malley also identified public safety and planning for the future of all city utilities — water, gas, electric, sewer and stormwater — as priorities. O’Malley previously said his degree in marine engineering has helped prepare him oversee the city’s utilities because ships are cities at sea.
The city’s short-term needs include affordable housing, while mid-term the city should focus on transportation and infrastructure, he said. In the long-term, the city should encourage investment in research and development so more companies can export products from Colorado Springs.
"I want to ensure that growth is done responsibly," he previously said.
O’Malley raised nearly twice the amount Johnson, a teacher with his doctorate degree in education, raised in the race. O'Malley collected just over $12,000 compared to Johnson’s $6,800 as of March 28, the most recent campaign finance deadline.
A large percentage of O’Malley’s campaign support came from the development community: $7,000 from the Housing and Building Association’s political action committee and $5,000 from Nor’wood. The O’Neil Group Company, business management consultant in Colorado Springs, donated $2,000.