Aurora’s Mayoral Race Could Finally Be Settled Thursday

Courtesy photo/David Zalubowski, AP
Aurora mayoral candidates Omar Montgomery (left) and Mike Coffman.

UPDATE: Coffman declared victory Thursday afternoon and a Montgomery campaign spokesperson confirmed to CPR News that he planned to concede and congratulate Coffman.

More than a week after Election Day, the final count of votes in Aurora’s mayoral race will be on Thursday. At least that’s what the city clerk expects.

“I think it’s safe to go off the numbers that are published tomorrow,” said Steve Ruger, Aurora’s city clerk. “We would basically assume that all the ballots that should be counted will be counted.”

But those won’t be the official numbers.

According to state law, all counties have to be done counting ballots and release official results by Nov. 27. Aurora doesn’t anticipate certifying its results until then, even if there is a winner.

“Nothing is official until the canvassing board for each county signs off on the official results,” he said.

Each county can set its own time within that period. Arapahoe County, where the majority of Aurora is, set its time to certify its results for 10 a.m. on Nov. 26.

According to the Aurora City Clerk office, the last day to return cured ballots — those cast with signature issues, for instance — and Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act ballots is Wednesday.

Arapahoe County spokesperson Winna MacLaren said the county sent out about 180,000 ballots to Aurora. They are not sure yet how many were returned because the count is ongoing. The county has about 850 cured ballots that it still has to count. The deadline is midnight, and any that are returned after will be rejected.

The race between former Congressman Mike Coffman and Aurora NAACP president Omar Montgomery is still extremely close. Coffman leads by only 281 votes. His lead increased by 8 votes since Friday. More than 74,000 votes were cast in the race.

By the end of Election Day, Montgomery was trailing Coffman by 7 percent, but not all votes were counted. 

The gap between the candidates narrowed in the following hours.

Aurora lies in three counties — Douglas, Adams, and Arapahoe. All three counties are responsible for to count their own ballots in the race before sending them to Aurora to compile all of them together.

Douglas County spokeswoman Wendy Manitta Holmes said the state’s Secretary of State office directed the counties to wait on counting additional ballots — absentee ballots — until Thursday.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include a photo of both candidates.