As the Aurora Sentinel’s Carina Julig reports, a slate of candidates was announced over the holiday weekend by Democrats in the city of Aurora to challenge the openly partisan Republican majority on the Aurora City Council, and oust the city’s controversial conservative Mayor Mike Coffman:
A slate of Democrats announced Sunday at a joint press conference that they will be running for Aurora City Council in this fall’s elections.
That includes current city Councilmember Juan Marcano, who will be running for mayor.
“I’m running for Mayor to create an Aurora that puts our working families first — to create a city that is safe, clean, and thriving,” Marcano said on social media following an announcement at the Aurora Municipal Center Sunday afternoon…
The city council currently has a 6-4 Republican majority. Mayor Mike Coffman, who can cast votes in the event of a tie, is also a Republican. City council seats are technically nonpartisan, but critical city council decisions have become hyper-partisan and polarizing, particularly in recent years. [Pols emphasis]
After losing his congressional seat in 2018, career politician Mike Coffman plotted his comeback as Mayor of Aurora, barely winning the office in 2019 by just over 200 votes. Coffman then set to work installing a majority Republican City Council majority, which came to include Coffman’s former staffer Dustin “Mini-Mike” Zvonek.
Unfortunately, Coffman’s political success in installing a GOP majority to do his bidding hasn’t been matched with success in governing the state’s most ethnically and economically diverse city. Coffman’s disastrous mishandling of the 2020 racial justice protests that swept the nation and focused on Aurora due to the police killing of Elijah McClain further inflamed tensions in the community. Instead of stabilizing the situation in 2021, Coffman’s conservative majority has been plagued by embarrassments and scandals, from Danielle Jurinsky declaring her own city to be a no-go zone to Steve Sundberg’s attempt to lampoon every ethnic minority in the city. All of this happened while the city turned over three police chiefs in a single year.
After last November’s sweeping victories for Colorado Democrats, now-outgoing GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown cited formerly nonpartisan city council and school board races as key to the party’s strategy for rebuilding. But instead of a rallying point for recovery, in 2023, Republicans in control of Aurora will be on the defensive.
Mike Coffman’s Aurora is an anomaly in today’s Colorado politics, and its end could be in sight.