COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Most observers assumed that John Suthers would be re-elected to a second term as mayor of Colorado Springs, but didn't foresee him winning by a landslide Tuesday.
"When I took this job, I was very frank with the voters," he said "I said if you elect me, we're going to deal with infrastructure, we're going to deal with job creation. They knew what they were getting, and (the) results, I think (show that) the vast majority of citizens are happy with the (city's) direction. and they're going to get more of it."
Suthers won despite losing the endorsement of the city firefighters' union to challenger John Pitchford. Pitchford finished third with 10 percent of the vote, behind Juiette Parker (11 percent) and Lawrence Martinez (5 percent).
"I'm tired. It's been a long three months," Parker said. "But I met a lot of people and am happy with my campaign. I may try to run for mayor again next time, or run for city council."
Martinez said he would have been surprised to win.
"My campaign wasn't just about winning," he said. "It was about getting out there to talk with people and discuss what the city needs. I'll still be doing that, win or lose."
Pitchford did not respond to an interview request from KRDO NewsChannel 13.
Suthers thanked his supporters for the victory, and mentioned his parents as a positive influence in his political career.
"I want to thank the citizens of Colorado Springs for their confidence in my continued leadership of our great city," he said.
"I think my victory, and the defeat of Issue 1, show that the vast majority of citizens are satisfied with how I'm leading the city," he said.
Suthers, who spent 10 years as Colorado's attorney general, was elected mayor in 2015 on a platform of asking voters to approve a sales tax increase to pay for an expanded street paving program.
Voters approved not only the tax but also a fee to pay for stormwater projects.
In his next term, Suthers faces challenges such as the city paying millions of dollars to settle a federal disability lawsuit, and awaiting the penalty for losing a federal stormwater case.
"I feel confident that we can overcome those issues," he said. "I'm excited about finishing the City for Champions projects and creating jobs. We're going to have an economic downturn at some point, but I think the next few years will be great for Colorado Springs."