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Home / Articles / News / News /  Longmont mayor and city council races
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Tuesday, November 1,2011

Longmont mayor and city council races

By Boulder Weekly Staff

Unofficial election results show that incumbent Bryan Baum has been narrowly edged out by Dennis Coombs for Longmont mayor.

The votes show 49.61 percent for Baum and 50.39 percent for Coombs. Coombs won by only 164 votes.

But that could change. Letters must be sent to mail-in ballot voters who need to cure their signatures, or provide a photocopy of their ID in order for their votes to be counted. An automatic recount would be triggered if the vote differential is 53 or fewer. The deadline for voters to provide their signature or photocopy of ID is 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9. The earliest possible date for a recount is Nov. 15, and election results must be certified by Nov. 18.

Coombs, who says he raised about $12,000 to Baum's $20,000, credited his expected win to his team of volunteers who went door-to-door and campaigned hard. His crew stood at major intersections waving signs at passing cars in the days leading up to the election.

"I think people are looking for a change, a different style of leadership," Coombs told Boulder Weekly Tuesday night from the Pumphouse in Longmont, where he is a co-owner.

In other city council races, incumbent Sarah Levison won the at-large race, with 37.64 percent of the vote. Heath Carroll had 27.98 percent, followed by Ron Gallegos with 25.08 percent.

"I am honored to be re-elected to the Longmont city council," Levison told Boulder Weekly. "I will continue to make my best effort to serve the residents of Longmont for the next four years. It has truly been an honor to serve since 2007. Holding elected office is a sacred trust, I am humbled to be asked by the voters to work for them again."

In Ward 1, Brian Bagley led the pack, with 41.05 percent of the votes. Incumbent Brian Hansen had 27.09 percent, followed by Suzzanne Painter with 20.42 percent.

In Ward 3, Bonnie Finley soundly beat incumbent Sean McCoy by a margin of 63.2 percent to 36.8 percent.

Baum, who had been painted as a member of the conservative Old Guard, described himself as purple in an interview with Boulder Weekly.

"I look at what's best for the community, I don't look at red or blue," he says, pointing to his support of nonprofits and environmental initiatives like recycling and city-owned hybrid cars. If you want to go radically right or radically left, I dont fit either of those two.

Baum argued that, as city officials launch a search for the successor to departing City Manager Gordon Pedrow, Longmont needs an experienced mayor like himself, not his opponent, Dennis Coombs.

He accused Coombs of waffling on a couple of issues, including the discontinuance of affordable housing requirements for developers and the future of the wilting Twin Peaks Mall. According to Baum, Coombs originally was in favor of having the city take over the mall, but then flip-flopped.

For his part, Coombs told Boulder Weekly that his skills and personality are better suited to effective leadership, citing his 30-year engineering background and his ability to get people to work together successfully.

Coombs, who said he leans left on national social issues but is conservative financially, claims he has a skill for putting the right people on the bus but isnt afraid to kick some people off the bus, too.

He accused Baum, on the other hand, of harassing and bullying people.

Baum opposed continuing the affordable housing requirement for developers, given the economic decline and the negative effect such requirements can have on luring new development.

Coombs, while acknowledging that the program was seriously flawed, was opposed to scrapping it entirely, and he alleged that the council members who voted for its discontinuance may have had obligations to Realtors, banks and developers.

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