Richard Skorman and Steve Bach will have to take part in a runoff election to decide the first strong mayor of Colorado Springs.
Both appeared Wednesday morning on KKTV 11 News.
In Tuesday's election, no candidate got the majority, more than 50 percent of votes, needed to win the election. That means a runoff election will be needed.
On paper Bach came in second when the results were released. With a run off in the works taking the night’s two top vote recipients, second place is not a bad place to be for Bach.
Late Tuesday night, Bach trailed Richard Skorman by about 1,600 votes, but still captured enough to stay alive in the race for strong mayor.
A group of his supporters cheered him on at a watch party at BJ's in Colorado Springs.
With 25,122 votes, as reported at 9:30 p.m., Bach came out ahead of six other candidates on the ballot, including businessman Brian Bahr and term-limited council member Tom Gallagher.
Carrying the endorsement of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and a list of others Bach believes his background in business management and economic development make him a good fit to be strong mayor.
He now has to pick up the race again for a future decision against Skorman.
"We'll have a healthy dialogue with my opponent. He's a good man,” Bach said. “We differ, philosophically, on how we think the city government should best be run, and how to get our economy going again. So we'll just have a healthy debate about that."
Bach said Tuesday he hoped for a decisive win as opposed to the run off to save the $480,000 it will cost the city to hold the follow up election. With his wife by his side, he said he’s ready to get back to work.
Candidate Richard Skorman spoke to supporters at Stargazers Theater. The man with the most political experience in the race, asked them to get ready to roll up their sleeves and go back to work.
His volunteer crew of 300 have been knocking on doors and calling residents on the phone. He believes he will have to reach out to those who aren't "the usual suspects."
Skorman says Bach will have big development money behind him. Skorman says he's thankful to the 1,350 people who have donated anywhere from $5 to $50 to help him in his election bid.
Skorman told us, "We're going to get out there and keep moving along and make this a real campaign. We have an opponent now and so this will be a lot more clear for voters. People will be able to see what the differences are between us and what our visions are."
The runoff election will also be conducted by mail-in ballots.
The election will cost the city about $480 thousand, which was budgeted on the chance a runoff election was needed.
Ballots will be mailed out between April 22 and May 2, and May 17 will be the final election day.
The city will be using all the same drop off sites. Those locations can be found by clicking on Find It.
The "strong” mayor system eliminates the city manager’s job which was implemented in Colorado Springs in 1920. The mayor will take over the day-to-day duties as the city's boss including overseeing the city budget, which will still need council approval.
Seven candidates were in the running for mayor: Steve Bach, Brian Bahr, Kenneth Duncan, Tom Gallagher, Buddy Gilmore, Dave Munger, Richard Skorman. Munger and Bahr conceded soon after the first numbers came out.
Bahr's camp released a statement election night saying in part, "Our campaign is proud of the race we ran. Bahr will continue to be a champion of Colorado Springs and will continue to serve our community."
Munger said the following in a release to the media. "While the election did not turn out the way I would have liked, I am privileged to have been part of this process and to have participated in this historic and important election. I wish Richard Skorman and Steve Bach good luck as they continue their journey.”
Each of the candidates appeared in March on 11 News and told us about their plans for Colorado Springs if they were to be elected.
Richard Skorman says he would support domestic partner benefits, if elected to the position. Skorman also said he wants to find a way to fund city services that have been shortchanged in recent years. Skorman said he would not come out against any new taxes, saying he will decide on a case-by-case basis.
Steve Bach says the city is not business-friendly right now. He said there are too many regulations and it takes too long to get permits for existing companies to grow, and for new companies to move here. The U.S. Army veteran and UCCS graduate said every single dollar spent by the city needs to be used more efficiently. Bach also said his years of experience in economic development and commercial real estate give him insight on how to retain businesses and attract new businesses to Colorado Springs. He said he has experience running a business that will help him run the city.
Richard Skorman said Tuesday night, "We're going to make this a real campaign. We have an opponent now, and this will make it more clear for voters."
Steve Bach also commented, "I'm just thrilled. I think we're just so happy. We have so many great supporters and I just thank the voters."
Stay with 11 News as we bring you the latest information in this historic election as it becomes available.
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