Twenty-four hours after the ballot counting started, the make-up of the Springs city council looks very different.
Seven out of nine seats in City Council were up for grabs. For much of Wednesday, the race for District 3 between Lisa Czelatdko and Michael Merrifield was too close to call. After all the ballots were counted, Czelatdko ended with a 338 vote margin out of 20,000 votes cast.
The race for five At-Large City Council seats was a crowded one with 16 people vying for the wins. The at-large position is not a district seat, and therefore is voting on by the entire city, not just voters in the district in which they live. Incumbent Sean Paige will not reclaim his at-large seat, officially conceding Wednesday. Jan Martin, a long time councilmember, will keep her position.
"There's a lot of ways to lead in Colorado Springs and I'm going to do it,” said Paige. “I was appointed to city council and I was honored to serve on city council it was a great experience so I'm really happy to have had the experience and really honored to have served."
In a statement Wednesday, Paige said that he "took the job seriously and tried to make a difference every day."
Martin is excited to be working with a new council but says this is a turning point for the city.
“I know that they will all want to work together to move the city forward and we are just poised in Colorado Springs to move forward I think we elected some great people tonight,” Martin said.
After all the votes were counted, these are the top five out of 16 candidates for the At-Large seats:
Democrat Val Snider collected the third most votes for city council and says he's excited to get to work.
"I would say the word is refreshed. it's over and I'm actually going to start working the job so I'm looking forward to working and not campaigning," said Snider.
Brandy Williams was also elected and hopes to help promote businesses in the Springs. She also excited to start working with the other members elected. "(I feel) very good, I've talked to all of them along the campaign trails and I'm looking forward to working with all of them," Williams said.
Merv Bennett says the focus is going turn to fiscal responsibility.
“We are very fiscally conservative in knowing how absolutely every dollar is spent in the city and is done in a manner that is the best use of those dollars,” Bennett said.
Tim Leigh pulled in the fifth and final seat for at large council.
“We had a good campaign platform we executed in all aspect of the campaign you go out and do the job and kind of let the dust settle to see how things turn out and it worked out for us,” Leigh said.
The remaining candidates are below:
Dan "R12" Reifschneider
Thomas "Tony" Exum Sr.
In a controversial decision, five of these members created a team, a "Reform Team", and encouraged voters to vote them in as a team if they believe in their collective message: "Turn around the city." That Reform Team is compromised of Douglas Bruce, Ed Bircham, Helen Collins, Gretchen Kasameyer and Richard Bruce. Opposition argued that since it was a bi-partisan election, the team violated the election rules and acted as a party. None of those candidates ended up in the top five.
Besides District 2 with an open seat, District 3 had one up for grabs this year as well.
City Council District 2 candidates and their votes:
Angela Dougan 8,141
David M. Jensen 1,940
Mike Terry 5,521
Larry C. Bagley 4,184
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