Benker agrees that the large turnout among conservative voters in Longmont may have contributed to the defeat of County Ballot Issues 1A and 1B.
“I think that’s a real possibility,” she says. “If there were so many conservatives that turned out to vote for conservative candidates, they would be highly likely to vote against the ‘green’ initiatives.”
Witt, who has denied having any involvement with the anti-Benker campaign, says the outcome of the race was more about issues than money.
“All of the people who I wanted to win won,” she says. “I was rather surprised at the margin of victory. It was a clear mandate that we’re ready to get back on track in Longmont.”
She said the higher-than-expected turnout in the Ward 2 race was not just due to the mailings and phone calls made on her behalf.
“I knocked on 3,000 doors,” Witt says. “We worked really hard to get out the vote.”
But Benker says the outcome wasn’t about knocking on doors, which she says she did to the tune of a couple thousand households.
“There was a lot of big money in this campaign,” she says. “It’s hard to say how much was spent, because not everything was declared, I believe.”
Benker says she was especially shocked that Mayor Roger Lange lost to Bryan Baum in the election.
“I was very surprised at what happened to Roger Lange, because he’s a good man,” she says. “It’s very unfortunate that the conservatives targeted him because he’s a very moderate Republican.”
Witt says her first priority will be to work toward discontinuing the city’s lawsuits against the town of Firestone over the annexation of property for the LifeBridge Christian Church development.
“I really want to see those lawsuits dropped and tied up,” she says. “I will be more than happy to close that chapter.”
Witt also says she’s ready to get past the bitter battles of the election season.
“We want to start working together cooperatively for what’s best for Longmont. Let’s heal old wounds and move on.”
The Boulder County Elections Division completed tallying the 62,667 ballots by 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
“We had a low turnout this year for two reasons. First, because there was no statewide issue,” Boulder County Clerk & Recorder Hillary Hall said in a news release. “Second, we had a record number of people register to vote in 2008 and many did not turn in a ballot this year. We need to find a way to encourage one-time voters to become lifetime voters. We want them to understand how all elections can impact their lives.”