Williams in a walk
Thornton voters pick new face as mayor
Photo by Pam Wagner
Thornton mayor-elect Heidi Williams, right, celebrates with her campaign manager Dave Kulmann after hearing election results at the Outback Steakhouse in Thornton. Williams unofficially received 56 percent of the vote and will be sworn in on Nov. 15.
November 04, 2011 | 08:11 AMAt about a quarter to eight Tuesday night, Heidi Williams was called over by her campaign manager, who had a computer set up on a round table near the bar at the Outback Steakhouse in Thornton.
When she got to the table, a crowd of supporters gathered around her as she reviewed the first posted election results.
"We have total domination! Fifty-six percent" exclaimed Dave Kulmann, Williams' campaign manager.
Soon Williams was giving high-fives and hugs as she celebrated her win as the new mayor of Thornton. The unofficial final results showed Williams with 56.24 percent of the vote, or 8,246. Her challengers Val Vigil had 26.04 percent (3,924) and Mack Goodman had 17.73 percent (2,672).
Williams was a little surprised by the results, she said, "Because it could go either way. But I worked really hard."
Williams said her win signifies that the citizens of Thornton "are ready for a change; and (did not want) politics as usual."
The new mayor will be sworn in during City Council's Nov. 15 regular meeting. She will have to resign her current post as a member of the Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board of Education, where her term was to expire in 2013. The board will have 60 days to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
More than 50 supporters and other Republican candidates for municipal and school board elections were at the restaurant Tuesday night. Among the supporters for Williams was Erik Hansen, who resigned as Thornton mayor when he won a spot on the Adams County Board of Commissioners in 2010.
Vigil, who watched the results at his home, expressed discomfort at Hansen's support for Williams and the campaign literature Williams used declaring her a Republican candidate.
"I don't think we were able to keep the race nonpartisan like it should be. Williams made it a partisan race," he said during a phone interview Tuesday night.
He added that "people are leery of Democrats" because of the recent scandals in Adams County that involve Democrat officeholders.
Vigil, who currently serves as a Ward 2 councilman, said he was concerned with two issues and how Williams would represent the city — the completion of FasTracks and the inmate cap at the county jail, which will go into effect in 2012.
Recently the commissioners, including Hansen, voted to implement the cap and a fee of $45 daily for any inmate that exceeds the cap. Vigil said "the city will not pay $45 a day when we go over our allotted eight inmates." Vigil said he wondered where the new mayor would stand on this issue since she and Hansen were "good friends."
However, Vigil pointed out that Williams "is just one vote out of nine." Vigil said regardless of his defeat, he would continue to work on the issues important to the city.
Goodman, who has been serving as mayor pro tem and is a Ward 1 councilman, declined to talk to the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel for this story.