In the mountain town of Telluride, Colorado, ten candidates were running for four available seats on the Town Council. The 175-member Telluride Association of REALTORS® (TAR) made the most of the opportunity to promote candidates who espoused the values of affordable housing; sustainable growth and development; economic vitality and vibrancy; civility and collaboration; and who favored the construction of a community recreation center. With an Independent Expenditure from the REALTOR® Party, TAR conducted a joint campaign for four REALTOR® Champions, three of whom won seats on the council.
“We are so grateful for the support and guidance from the National Association, and ecstatic about the outcome of the election,” says Robyn Pale, TAR Executive Vice-President. In October, she and several members of the TAR board conducted an annual Candidates & Issues Forum that drew record attendance and reached even more of the community via radio broadcast.
Once TAR had vetted and identified the candidates it would be supporting, the board voted to apply for a grant from the REALTOR® Party to mount an independent expenditure campaign to support all four individuals. Matthew Hintermeister, the association’s RPAC and Government Affairs chair, can’t say enough good things about his first experience working with NAR’s Campaign Services team. “We provided them with our details, and they took it from there,” he says. “The campaign they put together was so well orchestrated, and well designed, and rolled out quickly. They really took the time to listen to our feedback, and were highly responsive to our requests; for example, when we asked them to implement Spanish language ads: no problem!”
The grant from the REALTOR® Party amounted to about $3,600 per candidate, funding a campaign called “Telluride Matters” that was composed of three mail pieces, a month of online advertising and full page ads in the local newspaper, and live GOTV phone calls. Of the candidates TAR supported, three won in landslide voting: one, a TAR affiliate member; another, whom TAR had previously supported in a mayoral race; and a third described by Pale as “a like-minded business woman.” As there was no advance polling, Hintermeister says he was definitely nervous watching the returns, but notes that in the end, “the opposing slate, all incumbents, received only eleven more votes in total than our strongest candidate.”
According to the next day’s Telluride Daily Planet, “If there was one message that came through loud and clear on Tuesday night, it was that Telluride voters were not looking to be saved by the [opposing slate of] candidates.”
“This campaign was a big move forward for us,” says Hintermeister, adding that, overall, it improves the standing of REALTORS® in the community. “Telluride has some big housing and zoning challenges on the horizon, and it’ll be interesting to see how they play out; our REALTOR® members and affiliates will certainly be breathing easier knowing that they have some champions on the Town Council. Ultimately, it will be good for the whole community.”
To learn more about how the Telluride Association of REALTORS® is making a difference in the vitality of its town by supporting Town Council candidates who align with core REALTOR® principles, contact Robyn Pale, TAR Executive Vice-President, at 970-728-5172; or Matthew Hintermeister, RPAC and Government Affairs chair.