Oct 27, 2023 - News

What's at stake in Aurora's municipal election

Illustration of a close up of the state of Colorado, with the state outline as a checked "box".

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Voters in Colorado's third largest city will get a chance to shape how its government will look for the next four years.

Driving the news: Election Day is Nov. 7, and voters across three counties — Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas — have already received ballots to choose a mayor and five city council representatives.

Why it matters: Whoever is elected will need to address homelessness and public safety, which are among the most pressing issues for Aurora. The winners could also determine the political leanings of its city council, which currently holds a conservative majority.

Of note: Aurora has a council-manager government, meaning its city manager oversees the day-to-day operations instead of a mayor.

  • The 11 member council includes the mayor and 10 members.

State of play: Mayor Mike Coffman, a Republican, is seeking reelection after narrowly winning the seat in 2019. He faces two Democratic challengers, Aurora council member Juan Marcano and political newcomer Jeff Sanford.

  • Coffman has focused on curbing homelessness by enacting an urban camping ban and supported an effort to make Aurora's government similar to Denver's strong-mayor system.
  • Marcano, a progressive voice on council and Coffman critic, wants to focus on a housing-first approach to homelessness and supports bringing back a citizen group to make recommendations to local police, the Sentinel reports.
  • Sanford, a U.S. Air Force veteran with no prior political experience, told the Denver Post he wants to develop a master plan to improve the city infrastructure and environmental and sustainability efforts.

Zoom in: 10 candidates are vying for five council seats, including two at-large positions.

  • At-large: Alison Coombs (D), Curtis Gardner (R), Thomas Mayes (D) and Jono Scott (R).
  • Ward IV: Jon Gray (D) and Stephanie Hancock (R).
  • Ward V: Angela Lawson (U) and Chris Rhodes (D).
  • Ward VI: Francoise Bergan (R) and Brian Matise (D).

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