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Sign them up: Colorado Springs City Council races draw a crowd

Filing deadline attracts candidates, low pay and long hours be damned

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A multitude of candidates will vie for six seats on Colorado Springs City Council in the April 2 mail-ballot election. Three districts have four candidates, meaning candidates there could win with as little as 26 percent of the vote.

While the deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 6, all but one incumbent had filed affidavits of candidacy by Tuesday morning. Lisa Czelatdko is sitting out the race after serving two years.

Late filers include current at-large Councilor Tim Leigh, who's running in District 1, the city's northwest sector, and Tom Gallagher, former Council member and 2011 mayoral candidate, in District 3.

A commercial real estate broker who's under investigation by the city's Independent Ethics Commission, Leigh hadn't filed a campaign finance report by press time but can be expected to rake in a lot of cash; he's endorsed by the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs. Also in the race: Don Knight, an Air Force and defense industry retiree who's loaned his campaign $1,500, and Julie Naye, a conservative activist and former small business owner who hadn't yet filed a campaign finance report.

Angela Dougan, seeking re-election in the northern District 2, has raised the most cash of any candidate, $15,600, and clearly is the developers' darling. She's gotten money from the HBA, Northgate Properties, a number of Nor'wood Development Group employees including owners Chris and David Jenkins, and Challenger Homes owner Brian Bahr. She's also collected $1,000 from Mayor Steve Bach's wife, Suzi, and $500 from The Broadmoor.

Challenging Dougan will be science education consultant Joel Miller, who hadn't filed a campaign finance report as of Tuesday morning, and retired military member William Murray, who served on the Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System in 2010. Murray has given his campaign $500.

In District 3, encompassing the city's southwest and downtown, Gallagher's Feb. 1 filing made him the fourth candidate. Former state Sen. Keith King has transferred $10,500 from his legislative campaign chest and raised another $3,080. Former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg has raised $7,600 (including a $1,000 loan to himself), and incumbent at-large councilor Brandy Williams has raised $1,100. That district includes the wealthy Broadmoor area, so expect campaign coffers to swell.

Candidates for District 4, which covers the city's southeast, include Gary Flakes, a consultant who served 12 years in prison in the deaths of two teens; Dale Carnegie trainer and Harrison School District 2 board chair Deborah Hendrix; Helen Collins, of the 2011 Douglas Bruce slate of Council candidates; and Air Force retiree and community volunteer Dennis Moore. Hendrix is leading the money game with $4,600 so far.

District 5 has drawn four candidates who hope to represent the core district, bounded generally by Platte Avenue to the south, Interstate 25 to the west, Powers Boulevard to the east, and Austin Bluffs Parkway and North Carefree Circle to the north.

Incumbent Bernie Herpin and nonprofit executive Jill Gaebler are neck-and-neck with a little more than $4,600 each. Gaebler adds to her money an endorsement from Suzi Bach. Semi-retired apartment owner Roger McCarville has loaned his campaign $1,500. Charter school director Al Loma, the HBA's choice, didn't file a campaign finance report by the Feb. 1 deadline.

Finally, in the eastern District 6, voters will choose from ultra-conservative and 2011 Council candidate Ed Bircham, who's given his campaign $5,000; David Moore, who served in the Army and worked as a U.S. Postal Service supervisor before becoming a pastor and has raised $3,000 (mostly from the HBA); and Andres Pico, a project manager for government contractor Serco, Inc., who has donated $200 to his campaign.

zubeck@csindy.com

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