Stephanie Piko will be the third mayor in the 16-year history of Centennial.
Piko defeated fellow District 4 councilmember Charles "C.J." Whelan in the Nov. 7 election. In results posted by the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder's Office at 12:15 a.m. Nov. 8, Piko was leading with 55.4 percent of the vote, while Whelan had 44.6 percent in his favor. More than 24,000 ballots had been counted with all 84 precincts reporting.
"I am thrilled, and I think that I have a great number of people her supporting me who are very excited to see how things are going in the race," Piko said over the phone at a results-watch party of about 60 people. "I had family fly in from out of town to surprise me - tons of people who helped me walk and raise money and spread literature."
Piko will succeed term-limited Cathy Noon, who has served a pair of four-year terms. Noon followed the city's first mayor, Randy Pye.
Whelan called Piko at about 8 p.m. to congratulate her on the presumptive win.
"We did what we could, and a great deal of thanks goes to everyone who supported me," Whelan said. "I thanked (Stephanie) for (what) I thought was a campaign the way it should be, especially in this day and age."
Whelan said he heard from a lot of people there was "not a lot" that distinguished him and his opponent.
"Which I took as a good sign because it showed we were both dedicated to the city," Whelan said. "I just felt that some of my background in the business world and projects I supported on council would have done it."
State Sen. Jack Tate, who represents a district that includes Centennial, was at Piko's Election Night gathering at Growler USA on East Briarwood Avenue.
"I'm just very glad Mayor-Elect Piko will be in office for the next four years leading Centennial in a positive direction," said Tate, a Republican. Rich Sokol, chair of the Arapahoe County Republican Party, also attended the gathering.
Piko, who has lived in Centennial for 16 years, is a substitute teacher for the Cherry Creek School District and an office manager and information-technology support for Intelinet Imaging, a teleradiology service provider. She sat on the city's Planning and Zoning Commission from 2008-11 and chaired the Open Space Advisory Board from 2007-11. She's the current mayor pro tem and is in her second term on city council.
Whelan, who has lived in what's now Centennial for more than 30 years, is a telecommunications entrepreneur and business owner. He's a former mayor pro tem for the city and a former president of the Cunningham Fire Protection District.
Piko had two years left of her four-year city council term. So if she had lost the election, she would still have held a council seat. Whelan, on the other hand, was up for re-election on council, but couldn't run for both council and mayor.
Whelan and Piko raised nearly the same amount of campaign contributions, with Whelan pulling in $30,911 and Piko edging him out with $30,951, according to filings with the city.
All new elected officials in Centennial will be sworn in at the council meeting on Jan. 8.
City council races
In the race for District 2's open council seat, Tamara Hunter-Maurer was leading with 42.0 percent of the vote. Trailing her were incumbent Doris Truhlar with 28.8 percent, Nancy Nickless with 15.1 percent and Bennett Rutledge with 14.1 percent. At the time, 5,981 votes were counted with all 20 precincts reporting. District 2 is roughly the second-most west part of the city.
Hunter-Maurer, who has lived in what's now Centennial for 34 years, is a professional engineer with a focus on transportation, roads and construction with the state of Colorado. She has worked on projects as project manager or as technical expert for traffic and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). She has served on CenCON, the Centennial Council of Neighborhoods, as a second vice president, and as president of the Ridgeview Hills North Civic Association.
Truhlar, who has lived in Centennial for 34 years, is an attorney at the Truhlar and Truhlar law firm, which Truhlar started with her husband in 1985. Prior to that, she worked for several newspapers around the nation, including The Denver Post and Aurora Sentinel. Truhlar is finishing her first term on council.
Nickless, who has lived in what's now Centennial since 1998, works in the department of physiology and biophysics as a finance and accounting senior professional for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Rutledge has lived in what's now Centennial since 1998. He has worked as an information technology professional for more than four decades, currently with a banking company and formerly with the Federal Highway Administration.
In a close race for District 4's open seat, Marlo Alston led with 34.4 percent of the vote. Trailing her were Charlette Fleming with 33.8 percent of the vote and John Miquel with 31.8 percent. At the time, 4,739 votes were counted with all 19 precincts reporting. District 4 encompasses most of the northeast corner of the city.
Fleming, who has lived in what's now Centennial since 2000, is a senior accounting consultant for AxxessConnect, a telecommunications and information technology service provider.
Alston, who has lived in Centennial since 2004, is a "military wife" and mother of military veterans. She works in workers' compensation claims management. She has sat on the city's Open Space Advisory Board and was a homeowners association vice president and board member.
Miquel, who has lived in Centennial since 2013, is the small-business owner of and attorney at the Law Firm of John F. Miquel. He was previously a manager and corporate trainer in the hospitality industry.
In District 1, incumbent Kathy Turley ran unopposed and will keep her seat. Turley, who has lived in what's now Centennial for 38 years, is a retired sales executive from Kaiser Permanente and worked there for almost 20 years. Turley has been a city council member for District 1, the western-most part of the city, for four years.
In District 3, Mike Sutherland, who ran unopposed, will take the seat. District 3 encompasses the southeast, middle and center-west parts of the city.
"I think the city is on an upward trend," said Sutherland, who said he's excited to be on city council. "I think a lot of issues in the next four years will be challenging, but exciting.
Transportation and economic development issues are what he's most excited to work on.
"With fiber (optic cable) ready to be lit in 2018, that will help with our infrastructure and transportation," said Sutherland, referencing the project with which the city aims in part to make its transportation system more responsive to traffic flows.
Sutherland, who has lived in what is now Centennial for 23 years, is an attorney who has practiced law in the private and public sectors in Colorado since 1984, and he's currently the benefits counsel for the Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado. He is a former member of the Foxridge Improvement Association Board.
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