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Pueblo prepares for runoff in crowded mayoral race

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Posted at 8:41 PM, Nov 05, 2023

PUEBLO, Colorado — Voters have many options in the race to become Pueblo's Mayor. Nine candidates are running. They include incumbent mayor Nick Gradisar, and current city council members Larry Atencio, Heather Graham, Dennis Flores, and Regina Maestri.

Former council members Chris Nicoll and Randy Thurston are also running along with retired businessman Tom Croshal and YouTube streamer Deryk Trujillo.

"I think it's quite likely that we'll end up having a runoff election and that's just due to the sheer number of people running for mayor this time around," said City Clerk Marissa Stoller.

Mayoral candidates must win at least 50 percent plus one vote in municipal elections to win the office outright according to the charter amendment passed by voters in 2017. Otherwise, the two leading candidates will compete in a runoff election.

Stoller and the City Council have already taken steps to prepare for a runoff. Council authorized $30,000 at their October 23 regular meeting to rent vote tabulation machines for a runoff election. Stoller has also contacted ballot printers to create a draft runoff ballot.

"We have Candidate A and Candidate B, kind of like placeholders in there," Stoller explained. "But we're ready to slip in (the leading candidate names) and start mailing those out and getting those printed pretty much directly after we get the final results."

The runoff election will happen on January 23. The charter requires runoff elections to be held, "as soon as possible."

Stoller explained there are mandatory steps that must happen in the weeks following Tuesday's election before the runoff can take place.

"The final (election) results don't happen, you know, right away," Stoller said. "You have to wait until the canvas board approves it about 22 days after the election."

Stoller contacted Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Candace Rivera to see if they could handle the runoff election. The date conflicted with preparations for the March 5 "Super Tuesday" Presidential Primary.

The city and county are working together to ensure voters can use secure ballot drop boxes they're familiar with when participating in the runoff.

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