BY FREDA MIKLIN
There were five seats up for election for the ten-member Aurora City Council on November 2. The council members for Wards 1, 2 and 3 plus two at-large positions were in play. Due to term limits and some members choosing not to run for re-election, the only race with an incumbent was in Ward 1, where Crystal Murillo, running for a second term, won handily, receiving 56% of the vote in a three-person race. In 2017, when she was first elected, Murillo was the youngest person ever elected in Aurora at age 23. She is also the first Latina to serve on the council. Murillo currently works at the University of Denver as its Diversity Program Coordinator.
Ward 2 has not had a city council representative since June, when former Council Member Nicole Johnston resigned her seat to move to Colorado Springs. The council tried to appoint a replacement for Johnston but could not agree after multiple attempts and finally decided to leave it vacant until the election on November 2. During those multiple attempts, the more conservative members of the council favored Republican Steve Sundberg, while the more liberal council members favored Democrat Ryan Ross. On November 2, Sundberg won the position with 48% of the vote in a four-person contest. Ross did not run.
In Ward 3, Ruben Medina, a former employee of Aurora’s recreation department who wants to see Aurora parks used for more community events, bested conservative pastor Jono Scott by 120 votes out of 8,214 cast. Ward 3 had been represented by conservative Marsha Berzins who was term-limited.
The two at-large positions on the ballot for the Aurora City Council drew all new candidates. Incumbents Dave Gruber, a conservative, and Allison Hiltz, a liberal, both chose not to run for re-election in 2021. They will be replaced on the council by the top two vote-getters in the six-person race, Dustin Zvonek, who worked for Mayor Mike Coffman when he was in the U.S. Congress, and Danielle Jurinsky, a military veteran and small business owner. Both are self-identified conservatives.