GREELEY —Fourteen candidates for mayor and four open city council seats makes the 2019 Greeley ballot the most sought after elected positions in nearly two decades.
All the seats are contested with two candidates for mayor, two candidates in Ward I, three candidates in Ward IV and seven running for two open At-Large seats. Previously the most candidates in a city election was 11 in 2009, when five seats were up for grabs. It’s also the first time since 2009 that all the seats open are contested.
In 2018, a series of appointments to the Greeley City Council (the most in history for one year), coupled with another councilman (Robb Casseday) being term limited created an unusual scenario for the 2019 election.
Two city council members — Rochelle Galindo (then Ward I) and Mike Finn (then Ward IV) stepped down in 2018 to run for different public offices. The successful At-Large candidate in 2018 — Eddie Mirick — was removed from office shortly after taking his oath when a Weld District Court Judge ruled a previous felony on his record made him ineligible.
All three seats were filled through appointments. Ward I was filled by political new-comer Jon Smail, who chose not to run for re-election, Ward IV was filled by former Weld County Commissioner and House District 48 Rep. Dale Hall, who is seeking re-election, and the At-Large was filled by another political new-comer Stacy Suniga, who lost to Mirick by just 335 votes in the 2017 election. Suniga is also running for re-election.
However, two of the four available seats are both At-large, a position that historically has been staggered two years between elections. To get those back on track, City Council voted to make one seat in the 2019 election a two-year position and the other a four-year. The candidate with the most votes among the field of seven candidates will hold the four-year and the next highest vote getter will hold the two-year.
The At-Large race has as many candidates running for two seats as the other three races combined. The diverse field could cause a large split in vote. In 2018, 17,223 votes were cast for three candidates. Incumbent Suniga recorded 7,127 of those votes with the other 10,096 divided among two other candidates. This year, Suniga has six opponents.
At-Large — all Greeley voters will get to select two candidates (listed in the order they appear on the ballot):
- Patrick Wardell —Wardell ran unsuccessfully for Mayor or a spot on the council in each of the last three elections.
- Joseph Bodine — Retired. Bodine most recently served as Assistant City Attorney for Greeley.
- Ronny Lopez — No information available.
- Ed Clark — Former Mayor of Greeley, 2007-2009.
- Eddie Mirick — Was elected At-Large in 2018 but was removed from office for a felony conviction. Mirick has since had the felony changed to a misdemeanor, which he contends it should have always been. He is now eligible for office.
- Stacy Suniga — Incumbent. Suniga was appointed when Mirick was removed.
- Kristin Zasada — Greeley realtor. Zasada has served on several Greeley boards and commissions.
Ward I — encompasses mostly north and east Greeley (listed in the order they appear on the ballot):
- Blythe Driver — Wife and mother of two. Political newcomer.
- Tommy Butler — Lost a bid for Weld County Council in 2018. House District 50 vacancy committee chairman for Weld County Democrats.
Ward IV — encompasses most of Greeley north of 20th Street and west of 35th Avenue (listed in the order they appear on the ballot):
- Jim Roohr — Sales Representative for Pepsi Beverages Company. Political newcomer.
- Michael Whitcomb — Office administrator. Communication Director Weld County Democrats.
- Dale Hall — Incumbent. former Weld County Commissioner and House District 48 Representative.
Mayor (listed in the order they appear on the ballot):
- John Gates — Incumbent. Director Safety and Security Greeley-Evans School District 6
- John Shull — No information available.