Skala reclaims Third Ward seat in repeat battle

Apr 3, 2013

Karl Skala (second from right) talks to supporters while awaiting election results Tuesday night.
Karl Skala (second from right) talks to supporters while awaiting election results Tuesday night.
Credit Casey Morell / KBIA

Skala reclaimed the position from incumbent Gary Kespohl with 54% of the votes. This redeems his narrow defeat to Kespohl in 2010, when Skala lost the seat by 54 votes. Kespohl knew that this time it would be close and estimated that he knocked on nearly 5700 doors.

In his concession speech, Kespohl was brief. “I’m afraid for Columbia now because of some things that Karl is going to try to do. It may drive development completely out of Columbia. I hope it doesn’t, but it may.”

Kespohl said he probably won’t run for City Council again, as it has been hard on his family. But, he plans to stay involved in city government for now.

“Karl worked really hard!" said supporter Alice Turner at Skala's watch party at Bleu. "He just really believes in civic participation and I think now we have an opportunity with Karl on the council to really make Columbia what it can be.”

Skala’s reaction was excited but understated. He said his initial goals will be to stick to his campaign platform: public safety, economic development and taxes.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for three years,” Skala said. “I think we ought to make sure that we take advantage of other communities’ failures as well as successes in order to make our community a better place to live. That’s what I intend to deliver.”

He also says his main take-away from this election is that voters want more oversight and interaction from their representatives.