Aurora to decide between three candidates in mayoral race

Race begins after strong mayor initiative fails to land on 2023 ballot
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Posted at 11:25 PM, Aug 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 19:45:01-04

AURORA, Colo. — As it stands, Aurora voters will decide between three candidates in the race for mayor. The race kicks off after an initiative that would've given the position more power failed to land on the 2023 ballot.

Tuesday was the filing deadline for candidates. The city clerk is working to certify that each candidate filed 100 signatures from registered voters in the City of Aurora. A final list is expected by the end of the week, according to a city spokesperson.

As it stands, voters will likely choose between three candidates. Current Mayor Mike Coffman is running for re-election, while Jeff Sanford and Juan Marcano are looking to unseat him.

A strong mayor initiative, however, will not be on the November ballot. The initiative would have changed the city's charter in order to give more power to the mayor's office.

Initiative proponents told our partners at The Denver Post they would not be able to meet the city's ballot initiative submission deadline of September 8 and will try again in 2025.

Marcano said he’s glad the strong mayor initiative will not be on the ballot. He claimed the signatures for the initiative were gathered through deceptive practices.

Sanford agreed. He said his administration would produce plans as a team if he was elected.

“You can't have political snipes, or at times it seems like an all-out war,” said Sanford.

Coffman, a supporter of the ballot initiative, said in a statement last week, “I’m disappointed that the ballot measure is not on the 2023 ballot to give the opportunity for voters to decide the issue, but I’m glad that it can be on the ballot in 2025 without having to gather signatures again."

City data shows Aurora's population has boomed by roughly 300,000 people in the past 50 years. Denver7 asked both candidates looking to unseat Coffman how they would manage such growth.

“Our pattern of development in Aurora has been that kind of contemporary, suburban sprawl. And that is, frankly, economically and environmentally unsustainable,” said Marcano.

Marcano suggested rezoning large portions of the city to allow for mixed-use developments and expanding public transit.

Sanford said updating the city’s master plan will be vital to handling the record growth.

“Our last master plan for the City of Aurora was developed in 2018. We don’t have a current master plan,” he said, referencing Aurora Places, the city's foundation for growth and development that was adopted in September 2018.

Election Day is November 7. For more information, click here.

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