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How should Pueblo pick its new mayor? City has yet to figure that out

Author: Dan Njegomir - February 9, 2018 - Updated: February 9, 2018

Pueblo City Hall. (

Now that the Steel City’s voters have resolved to restore the position of mayor to their long-mayorless city hall — and to elect one who’s not just a figurehead but a true chief executive who actually runs the joint — the real work begins. The city government has to decide exactly how the mayor will be chosen. Sorting it out isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper reported recently:

It’s going to be up to City Council to decide whether the new mayor will be elected by a “ranked choice” election on Nov. 6 or whether the city wants a second, run-off election in December, before swearing in the new mayor Jan. 8.

Problem with a run-off, Roper explains, is that by state law, ballots have to be mailed out at least 45 days in advance for local voters who happen to be in the military or overseas. If the first round of mayoral balloting — a nonpartisan primary, of sorts — were held next November, that would put a run-off election around Christmas. Writes Roper:

The option (Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert) Ortiz is recommending to the city is called a “ranked choice” election, where voters would rank the mayoral candidates by choice, such as first, second or third.

Essentially, the voting machines would count all the ballots and if no one receives a majority — meaning at least half of all the votes plus one — then it would then look at how the top two finishers were ranked in terms of second choice. That would produce a winning candidate in a three-way race.

The process would repeat itself if there were even more candidates until a winner is identified.

Meanwhile, only two candidates have declared their intention to run for the post so far. As of now, no runoff appears to be necessary. But look for others to throw their hats in the ring. The position — a “strong mayor” like those in Denver and Colorado Springs — would replace the city manager as city government’s full-time CEO. Meaning, it’ll pay well.



Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.