Independent Yemi Mobolade’s campaign to win the mayor’s office in the longtime conservative stronghold of Colorado Springs got some welcome news Thursday when he earned an endorsement from conservative Sallie Clark, a former Trump administration official who took a close third in the April 4 nonpartisan primary. Mobolade, an immigrant from Nigeria who would be the first Black person elected mayor, led with 30% in that contest, while GOP City Councilor Wayne Williams edged out Clark by just a 19-18 margin for the second spot in the May 16 general election. Both men are running to succeed termed-out GOP Mayor John Suthers, who's backing Williams.
Mobolade has pitched himself as a businessman, pastor, and political outsider with support across party lines, while Williams has labeled his opponent a “liberal.” A recent online ad from Williams utilized footage of Mobolade’s appearance in front of the El Paso County Democratic Party where he answered in the affirmative when asked if taxpayer funds should be utilized “to provide more equitable outcomes for disenfranchised communities” and if “every worker, regardless of the type of workplace, [has] the right to organize and collectively bargain.” That ad may not have been seen too widely, though, as Mobolade enjoyed a huge $100,000 vs. $20,000 cash-on-hand edge on April 10.
Mobolade, however, has also adopted some more conservative stances.
In a recent appearance before the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board he agreed he’d veto “anything intended to legalize recreational marijuana” and responded “no” when asked if more local protections were needed for abortion rights or LGBTQ citizens. The paper went on to ask both contenders who they voted for in the 2016 presidential contest, and while Williams volunteered that he was a Ted Cruz delegate before casting his ballot for Donald Trump, Mobolade replied, “Voting is a private matter. I choose not to answer that question.”
Williams, by contrast, is a longtime Republican politician who was elected secretary of state in 2014 only to lose reelection to Jena Griswold four years later, a win that made Griswold the first Democrat to win the post since Dwight Eisenhower was president in 1958. Williams bounced back the next year by winning a citywide seat on the city council, and he’s pitched himself as “the only conservative running.” But Clark, who also campaigned as a conservative, sees things differently, saying Mobolade’s values “really aligned and mirrored mine.”