Following in his father’s footsteps, Eric Mamula will serve as Breckenridge’s next mayor, according to a preliminary vote that was tallied Tuesday night. He was elected by a 63.53-percent margin, with a preliminary total of 777 votes, for the town’s first contested mayoral election in 32 years. His father, Sam Mamula, served as mayor through 2004.
“The time between 7 and when we found out at 7:40, it was a week long,” Mamula laughed. “I’m excited that the community trusts me to put me in that position. It was a great turnout for the election.”
Mamula, owner of Main Street restaurant Downstairs at Eric’s, has lived in Summit County since 1986. He previously served two terms on Breckenridge’s town council in 2004 and 2008, helping establish the town’s recreation center and ice rink. He ran against former two-term town council member and childcare advisory committee member Jennifer McAtamney, as well as local kitchen manager Brian Chiarizio.
“I am sorry I didn’t get to be mayor, but I’ll find something else to do,” McAtamney said. “There’s a lot of work to be done yet.”
She started her own property management company after moving to Breckenridge, working with several homeowners associations, including the Wellington neighborhood. She is also co-chair of the Breckenridge organizing committee for the USA Pro Challenge.
Chiarizio, a current kitchen manager at Rita’s in Breckenridge, came to Breckenridge 13 years ago after studying in the Coast Guard Academy.
Breckenridge voters also filled three town council seats Tuesday evening, electing Jeffrey Bergeron, Wendy Wolfe and Mike Dudick each to a four-year term.
“I’m really excited about the council and how the whole election went,” Mamula said, noting he had collaborated with the three in the past. “I’m super excited in having Wendy, Jeffrey and Dudick to work with.”
Wolfe, the sole incumbent in the April 5 election, is a 20-year Breckenridge resident and was formerly involved with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, among numerous other nonprofits. She was elected with 21.44 of the initial vote.
“I’m very excited to keep working with this community,” she said. “We had a lot of excellent candidates in this election. … I look forward to working with a new council.”
Bergeron, best known by his radio and TV alter-ego “Biff America,” previously served two terms on town council, helping form the town’s current Open Space Tax. He was elected with 24.53 percent of the vote.
Dudick, owner and developer of Grand Timber Lodge, served on town council from 2010 to 2014. Through his role with the town and Breckenridge Grand Vacations, he spearheaded the remodeling of the current South Branch Library and Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center. He was elected with 23.52 percent of the vote.
A total of five candidates ran for the three seats, including longtime resident and environmental advocate Leigh Girvin, who has served several years on Breckenridge’s planning commission and co-chaired the Joint Upper Blue Master Plan. Flyfishing guide and grooming supervisor Randy Veeneman, a longtime local, also ran for town council.
“It is gratifying to see such an overwhelming turnout of citizens for this election,” Breckenridge town manager Rick Holman said in a statement. “There were very qualified, very passionate people (who) threw their hat in the ring to serve this community, and I am so pleased that this has been such a positive campaign. Despite the high turnout, we had a smooth election with virtually no challenges at the polls and quick election night returns.”
About 40 percent of Breckenridge’s 3,000 registered voters returned their ballots, or 1,248 citizens. In the 2014 municipal election, 1,020 voted.
These results are preliminary, allowing for new Colorado legislation that requires towns to wait for eight days to certify the tally of votes to accommodate out-of-country ballots, which must be post marked by or prior to April 5, 2016. The final results will be released on April 13 by the Town Clerk’s Office onwww.townofbreckenridge.com.