The Aurora Municipal Center, located at 15151 East Alameda Parkway in Aurora, Colo.

Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia Commons-CC

It may be an off-year election with no statewide ballot issues, but there’s plenty for local voters to chew on. Denver voters will be focused on the city’s large $937M bond issue. While there’s not a big money ask in Aurora, the third largest city in the state, the election there is shaping up to be dynamic.

  1. It’s Politically Exciting: There are five open seats and two are held by incumbents being challenged by outsiders. Though the races are nonpartisan, the current Aurora city council runs more conservative on policies than the rest of the city. Community advocates and the editorial board of the local newspaper has been critical of the current council for not embracing more policies to help poor people and immigrants, including a resolution to support DACA — an Obama era program that allows kids whose parents brought them to the United States when they were young to work.
  2. The Challengers Are Younger And More Progressive Than The Current Council — Including A Few Candidates Of Color And More Women: Policies up for debate include whether to call Aurora a “sanctuary city” and whether to be more aggressive on affordable housing policies. Twenty percent of the city is foreign born and roughly that same number of people also live in poverty, according to census data.
  3. Immigration Makes Ward 1 A Race To Watch: The area, which is northwest Aurora and includes East Colfax Avenue, is home to a number of low-income people. The current incumbent, Sally Mounier, has been on the council since 2012 and has focused on public safety. She is an ardent President Trump supporter and has been resistant to resolutions supporting DACA — she says she wants comprehensive immigration reform as part of support for DREAMers. She is being challenged by Crystal Murillo, a young Latina who grew up in the area and recently graduated from the University of Denver. Murillo says she wants to help the low-income people in her ward with affordable housing and transit options. The two are pretty far apart politically and demographically and it will be interesting to see which way people in Ward 1 will vote given current the national debate on immigration and President Trump’s popularity.