Valerie’s the winner in young Boulder’s mock election

| Oct 13, 2009


RAISE YOUR PADDLES. Ten candidates appeared at Monday night’s debate at the Fox Theatre targeted at young voters. They held up paddles to vote on a panel’s questions. (Reporter photo)

If University of Colorado students had their way, Valerie Mitchell, an unknown candidate running for Boulder City Council, would be the city’s new mayor.

Perhaps it was her stellar performance at the mike, seconds after her near death experience on stage. She leapt out of her seat with cat-like agility, when a 20 foot tall screen fell to the stage, grazing the back of her chair, then paused to answer the question she had just been asked. The entire audience exploded with applause at her quick, life-saving response and upbeat answer.

Or perhaps it was because she was one of a handful of youthful candidates in a crowded stage of older adults … and the vote totals were based on “American Idol style” text voting.

The voting totals for each candidate — shown on the big screen before it fell — took on the look of a horse-race as audience favorites surged ahead, then dropped behind, only to move forward again as supporters in the crowded theater chanted their names then text in more votes.

In a series of five rounds, the youthful audience at Boulder’s Fox Theater dialed a 5-digit number at to cast their vote. In round three, Macon Cowles stood out as an audience favorite, because he was the only candidate to respond with a “Yes” to the question: “Should the City take over the Xcel power plant when its license comes up for renewal in 2010?”

In round four, candidate Tim Plass surged to the front as the favored candidate for Council because he could respond, in Spanish, to a question asked in Spanish by University Hill Commissioner, Hillary Griffith.

Valerie Mitchell won the highest number of text votes in round five … the round in which the five remaining candidates left on stage were ranked to see who would be “Mayor.”

Light-hearted and youth-oriented, Steve Fenberg of and Waylon Lewis of ran the coolest candidate debate of this election season.

Boulder’s five new council members will be decided by mail in ballot, Nov. 1.