GOP Loses Stronghold After More Than 40 Years
A GOP stronghold in Colorado has fallen after a surprise victory by an independent candidate. For over four decades, the…
A GOP stronghold in Colorado has fallen after a surprise victory by an independent candidate. For over four decades, the city of Colorado Springs has had a Republican mayor. Now it doesn’t — and Conservatives have to work out where they went wrong in a city that seemed to be securely conservative.
When the first results for Colorado Springs’s mayoral runoff election came in on May 16, it was suddenly clear that 45 years of Republican control was over. The GOP candidate, city councilor Wayne Williams, had just 43% of the vote and was trailing well behind independent Yemi Mobolade. Williams soon conceded, and when the remaining votes were tallied, it was clear Nigerian-born Mobolade had won — and become the city’s first elected black mayor.
Although Mobolade ran as an independent, he uses language stuffed with liberal jargon. After his victory, he said, “Colorado Springs will become an inclusive, culturally rich, economically prosperous, safe, and vibrant city.” On the other hand, the platform he ran on was fairly conservative; he promised to hire more cops and slash red tape on businesses. Mobolade himself is a businessman; since moving to the city in 2010 he’s opened two popular restaurants. The GOP might have lost the mayor’s office for the moment, but the city doesn’t seem doomed to liberalism.
Even if Mobolade does a good job as mayor, though, local Republicans will want to get their candidate elected next time — so what went wrong? After conceding, Williams said he’d already known his opponent was a strong candidate, and while he’d managed to close the gap, it hadn’t been enough. He blamed the defeat on a tough fight in the first round of the election, with GOP candidates “beating up on each other.” According to Williams, the repercussions of that fight carried on into the runoff and gave Mobolade an advantage. Now the Colorado GOP needs to focus on pulling itself back together and getting ready for the next election.