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October 23, 2021 03:23 PM UTC

Republicans Campaigning Together To Take Over Aurora City Council

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Masks off, Aurora — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Republican Party’s leading candidate for Governor, Heidi Ganahl, launched her campaign last month with a seven-day statewide tour that included a stop at JJ’s Place, an Aurora bar owned by Republican Danielle Jurinsky, who’s running for Aurora City Council.

The partisan back-scratching between Ganahl and Jurinsky is part of a coordinated effort by Colorado Republicans statewide — as well as a group of conservative candidates in Aurora — to gain a majority on the Aurora Council.

The five-member group of Council candidates, endorsed by the conservative Denver Gazette, includes Republicans Jurinsky and Dustin Zvonek, who are running for at-large seats, Republican Steve Sundberg, who’s running for Ward 2 in Northeast Aurora, Republican Jono Scott, who’s running in Ward 3, and conservative Bill Gondrez,Β who’s registered as Unaffiliated but has voted in every Republican primary election since 2006.

The conservative slate promotes itself by, among other things, referring to each one another in media appearances, endorsing each other, and sharing photos and messaging on social media.

Three of the five shared the same photo on Facebook of themselves with their campaign signs, under the slogan “For a stronger, safer, Aurora!” with comments boosting each other.

“The 5 of us push each other, support each other, and cheer each other’s successes!” wrote Jurninsky on Facebook, calling the four other candidates her “band of brothers.”

On his Facebook page, Sundberg wrote that the same photo is, “Your one picture 2021 Aurora City Council Voting Guide.” Scott’s comment on the same group photo was, “Ready to serve Aurora!”

Last week, Zvonek shared a Facebook photo of the five conservatives, including himself, and commented, “This is THE team. For a safer more prosperous Aurora. #VoteBill Gondrez for Aurora City Council, Steve Sundberg for Aurora City Council, Jono Scott for Aurora City Council, Danielle For Aurora.”

These candidates, who rave about each other on right-wing radio and have been backed by the Arapahoe County Republican Party, don’t trumpet their conservative credentials in Aurora, whose electorate is 35% Democrat, 43% Unaffiliated, and 22% Republican. The election is technically nonpartisan, so the candidates’ party affiliations won’t be listed on the election ballot.

But it’s a deeply conservative bunch.

Zvonek, for example, worked for some of Colorado’s most right-wing entities, such as the Koch-Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, and Republican lawmakers, including Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman and, before him, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who gained national attention for his presidential campaign focused on bombing Mecca and expelling undocumented immigrants.

Sundberg and Jurinsky both refused to get the COVID vaccination, according to the Aurora Sentinel, aligning themselves mostly with conservative extremists in Colorado and nationally and leading the leftSentinel to question their “judgment.”

Jurinsky told KNUS’s Peter Boyles that she carries a “Tomcat Beretta 32” gun with her and that she welcomes being compared to U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).

Jurinsky says she knows how to “rebrand” the Republican Party, to make it “cool.”

“We need to rebrand ourselves,” said Jurinsky, when asked by KNUS’ Peter Boyles in June what Republicans need to do to win in Colorado. “We need a new image and we need passion. We need fire. We need intensity. And I mean, as crazy as this sounds, we need to be cool. You know, the left is killing us.”

Scott wrote last year on Facebook that the pandemic was a “perfect opportunity” for elected Republican leaders, like Trump, to “issue an executive order to close all abortion facilities in their jurisdiction because of the potential for loss of lives.”

Jurinsky said she was misquoted “a couple of times,” but didn’t respond to a request to specify the errors so they could be corrected. Gondrez comment was: “Nuts.”

The coordinated effort to take over the Aurora City Council was apparently first made public by Aurora’s GOP Mayor Mike Coffman, who admitted back in June that he was using a proposed camping ban to elect fellow conservatives to the Council in the November election.

So the partisan campaigning in the race has come as no surprise to political observers in Aurora, including Zvonek, even though he writes on his website about “all the non-partisan reasons why I’m running for Aurora City Council.”

“Like anything in today’s world, I don’t think anything really is nonpartisan,” said Zvonek bluntly in July on a radio show hosted by George Brauchler, a well-known Republican.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: The Arapahoe County Republican Party was incorrectly identified as the Aurora Republican Party. Jurinsky replied to an email seeking comment.


13 thoughts on “Republicans Campaigning Together To Take Over Aurora City Council

  1. The phrase "nonpartisan election" is like a toothless watchdog right now. That's a problem, because gone are the days when political contests can operate on any sort of honor system. Major parties, and I'm not talking American Constitution Party after the Dan Maes debacle, have too much clout when it comes to gathering data, assembling footsoldiers, and amassing lucre. They can get around the letter of any laws on partisan activity by avoiding a few words in campaign literature and being attentive in campaign finance, but the spirit is getting trampled upon. Methinks it's time to take a closer look at nonpartisan election laws in Colorado, before candidates for school boards and town councils have to kiss the rings of the DNC or RNC to stand a chance.

  2. In Broomfield, Republican council  candidates combined received two thirds of their contributions  from only six donors, including their mayoral candidate’s uncle (who has had a longstanding asphalt contract with the city) and a PAC associated with the hateful Mises Institute. A rich few are bankrolling an attempt to take over the city government 


    1. It is happening all over. It is time for a worker rebellion in this country.

      The wealth of this nation has largely been already stolen by the super wealthy, but it seems like most of it isn’t enough for some of them. They want it all.

  3. Let them have it.  Make sure they are branded as Republicans.

    If 51% of the electorate is willing to elect a clown car of people who have no interest in actual governance, then have a blast I say.

    The great reform movements in this nation took hold only when enough people were deeply fed up with the corruption and lies and were no longer willing to be bullsh*tted.

    Same for school boards.  Let's try a couple years of CRT witch hunts, voluntary "quarantines", and teacher wage slashing. Then see how people feel about electing blowhards with no experience and obvious hostility.

    1. "If 51% of the electorate is willing to elect a clown car of people who have no interest in actual governance, then have a blast I say"

      If you are referring to the Clown in Chief who was in the White House from 2017 to 2021, keep in mind that he never got near 51% of the popular vote. His high water mark was the 47% he got running against Biden. (He did worse in the popular vote running against HRC.)

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