Centennial residents selected leaders of their city government in the election that ended Tuesday. At least one council race remained too close to call as the evening wore on.
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Centennial residents selected leaders of their city government in the election that ended Tuesday. One city council race remained too close to call on election night, but a candidate in that race — for District 4, the northeast part of the city — appeared to pull ahead as of the afternoon on Nov. 4.
In city council District 1, one of two contested races on the 2021 ballot, Robyn Carnes amassed a large lead over Fernando Branch on election night. Carnes held a nearly 11 percentage point lead as of Nov. 4.
Carnes declined the Centennial Citizen's request for comment on the race Tuesday night, saying it was too soon. District 1 is the far west part of Centennial.
Meanwhile, in council District 4, the northeast part of the city, incumbent Marlo Alston and challenger Neal Davidson were running neck and neck within about a half of a percentage point of each other on election night. A margin of just 26 votes separated the candidates at that point. But by Nov. 4, Alston opened up a small lead of just over 2 percentage points.
"Being that this is brand new stuff for me, I have to just hope and pray that it turns out in my favor," Davidson, a first-time candidate, told Colorado Community Media.
"I’m feeling good. I feel encouraged," Alston told CCM. "It’s closer than I thought it would be, but I feel really good."
The next set of city council members will grapple with such issues as soaring housing prices and the proposed redevelopment of The Streets at SouthGlenn commercial and residential complex.
Residents voted for four city council members by district representing various parts of the city, as well as for mayor, who is also a council member, who is elected citywide.
Current Mayor Stephanie Piko ran unopposed for re-election, as did candidates in council districts 2 and 3. Tammy Maurer was unopposed for re-election to a District 2 seat, as was Mike Sutherland in District 3.
The winners will serve four-year terms on the nine-member council, which consists of two members from each of the four districts, plus the mayor.
Centennial operates under a “council-manager” form of government, where the non-elected city manager implements policy decisions made by the council. The council appoints the city manager.
In District 1 — the far west part of the city, encompassing most of the portion between South Broadway and Colorado Boulevard — Carnes faced Branch in a bid to succeed Kathy Turley.
Carnes is a vice president of expansion for Rescue America, a national organization that provides a 24/7 hotline and emergency response system to help survivors of sex trafficking. She has been supportive of the current council, which she called "a model of sound government" in response to a Centennial Citizen survey.
Her campaign received contributions from Piko and two former mayors as well as Suzanne Taheri, the Arapahoe County Republican Party chair; and Heidi Ganahl, a Republican who is running for Colorado governor.
Branch is senior director of partnerships and programs for the Colorado "I Have a Dream" Foundation. In a recent interview, he expressed a passion for the issue of housing, saying he favors targeting certain housing toward “civil service workers” such as teachers, police officers and firefighters. He serves on Centennial’s Public Safety Advisory board.
In District 4 — northeast Centennial, largely in the vicinity of Smoky Hill Road — incumbent Alston faced challenger Davidson.
Alston said in response to a Citizen survey that her first priority in a new term would be to "ensure that our city government is responsible to our residents," and said the single biggest issue facing the city is "attainability and stability of housing."
Davidson, a retired businessman, emphasized public safety as the single biggest issue facing the city.
For results of other races, including Cherry Creek and Littleton school boards, visit ColoradoCommunityMedia.com.
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