ELECTION ROUNDUP

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

Aurora will elect five city council members in November

The City of Aurora has ten members on its city council plus the mayor, who is elected directly and only votes to make or break a tie. The council consists of one elected member from each of six council districts plus four members elected at-large. All city council terms are four years long and are staggered. This year, city council districts one, two and three plus two of the four at-large positions will be filled by election. In 2023, council districts four, five and six will be up for election along with the other two at-large positions.

In Ward 1, Crystal Murillo, the only incumbent running for city council, is being challenged in her bid for re-election by Bill Gondrez and Scott Liva.

In Ward 2, there is an open seat that is being contested by Jessica Giammalvo, Robert Hamilton III, Bryan Lindstrom, and Steve Sundberg. After Nicole Johnston, elected in 2019, resigned her position as Ward 2 representative in June to move to Colorado Springs, the remaining council members tried to agree on someone to fill her position over multiple meetings but were not successful, so it will remain vacant until one of these four candidates is elected on November 2. 

Ward 3 is presently served by Councilmember Marsha Berzins, who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. There are two contestants for the position, Ruben L. Medina and Jono Scott.

The two at-large positions up for election this year are presently held by Councilmembers Allison Hiltz and Dave Gruber, first elected in 2017. Both are eligible for re-election but have declined to run again. There are six people vying for the two at-large positions left open by Gruber and Hiltz’ decision to not seek re-election.  They are Candice Bailey, Hanna Bogale, Becky Hogan, Danielle Jurinsky, John Ronquillo, and Dustin Zvonek. The two top vote-getters in the citywide election will fill the vacant positions.  

Littleton will elect its first mayor ever

Candidates for Littleton’s first-ever popular vote mayoral election on November 2 are Jon Buck, Carol Fey, and Kyle Schlachter. Buck has been the CEO of HopeCycle, a non-profit organization that distributes refurbished bikes to underprivileged, abused or neglected children, since 2017. Fey is a technical trainer and writer who is completing a four-year term as city councilmember for Littleton District 3. Schlachter is the outreach coordinator for the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board at the Colorado Department of Agriculture and served on the Littleton City Council from 2017 to 2019 at-large.

The mayor of Littleton was always chosen by and from among its seven elected city council members. In 2020, a referendum was approved by the city’s voters to have the mayor elected directly. The elected mayor will preside over city council meetings, but unlike mayors in many other nearby cities, will also have a vote on issues and questions that come before the council. The mayor will serve a four-year term.

Also up for election in November are the seats representing District one, District three, and the at-large position. In District one, incumbent Patrick Driscoll, a mortgage executive, is seeking re-election. He is being challenged by Candice Ferguson, a marketing professional. In District three, there is no incumbent because Fey is running for mayor. Challenging for the position are Stephen Barr, an environmental engineer, and Paul Bingham, also an engineeer. There are two candidates for the at-large position, both running for council for the first time, Krista Kafer, who writes an opinion column in The Denver Post, and Gretchen Rydin, a social worker and therapist. 

Also on the ballot in Littleton will be a ballot measure to raise the city sales tax from 3.00 percent to 3.75 percent, which will result in a total sales tax, including state and county tax, of 8.00 percent. The additional 0.75 percent, which was unanimously approved by the city council on August 26, is expected to raise $9.8 million annually and will be dedicated to infrastructure maintenance and capital expenditures. 

Englewood will have two contested elections this year

This year, there are four open seats on the seven-member Englewood city council that consists of four district representatives and three who are elected at-large. All regular terms are for four years and they are staggered so that half of the council runs every two years. This year, the positions that are up for election are a representative from district two, a representative from district four, one regular at-large position, and one at-large position for only two years because it is the remainder of the four-year at-large term to which John Stone was elected in November 2019. He resigned in March after some public statements he had made surfaced. He called them, anarcho-socialist.” Others called them, “communist,” and he didn’t disagree with that characterization. Regardless, many Englewood residents found them alarming and unacceptable which led to his resignation.

The two contested seats this year are the remaining two years in the at-large position vacated by Stone, in which Mary Colecchi and Jim Woodward are running, and the district four representative position. In that race, the candidates are Belinda Porter and Steven Ward. Ward has been sitting on the council since March, when he was appointed to the at-large seat that Stone vacated. (That, however, is not the seat for which he is running—he’s running for district four. It’s confusing.)

The two positions that are on the ballot but uncontested are the at-large position presently held by Cheryl Wink, elected in 2017, who has no competition, and the district two seat, where Chelsea Nunnenkamp is the only candidate. The current holder of the district two seat is Mayor Linda Olson, who is term-limited. 

The only other race on the ballot is for the presiding municipal judge. That position, currently held by Joe Jefferson, is also uncontested, so he will be elected to another four-year term. 

In Englewood, the mayor and mayor pro tem are chosen by the elected city council from among its members. There is no direct election for either position.

Littleton Public Schools Board of Education will elect three new members

The Board of Education of Littleton Public Schools consists of five members, all elected at-large for up to two four-year terms. Three of the five positions will be on the November 2 ballot. Current board members Kelly Perez, board vice-president, and Jack Reutzel, secretary, are term-limited and unable to run for re-election. Board member Angela Christensen was appointed in March to fill the remainder of the term of Carrie Warren-Gully, who was elected Arapahoe County Commissioner.

In addition to Christensen, who is running for election for a full four-year term, on the ballot are Joan Anderssen, Dale Elliott, Andrew Graham and Jon Lisec. The top three vote-getters from the group of five people will be elected to the school board for a four-year term. 

Five positions are up for election in Centennial

The Centennial City Council consists of nine positions, two each from four city council districts, plus the mayor. All are elected for four-year staggered terms, with one position from each council district up every two years so that councilmembers from a district must run individually, they cannot run as a team. The mayor, elected directly, also holds a four-year term. 

On November 2, Mayor Stephanie Piko will run uncontested for a second and final four-year term. Also running uncontested for a second and final term are District Two City Councilmember Tammy Maurer and District Three City Councilmember Mike Sutherland.

In Centennial District One, Councilmember Kathy Turley is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. Vying to replace her are Robyn Carnes and Fernando Branch. 

In Centennial District Four, incumbent Marlo Alston is being challenged in her bid for a second term by Neal Davidson.

Six candidates are running for two seats on the Cherry Creek School Board

The Cherry Creek School District Board of Education is divided into five Director Districts that each represent a separate geographical area of the school district. Terms of office are four years and elections are staggered. This November, Director Districts D and E are on the ballot. In 2023, Director Districts A, B and C will be up for election.

There are three candidates from each of the two director districts on the ballot. In Director District D, Kelly Bates, running for re-election to a second and final term, is being challenged by Jennifer Gibbons and Schumé Navarro.

District E is currently represented by Karen Fisher, president of the school board. She is term-limited and cannot run again. Running to replace her are Kristin Allan, Bill Leach, and Jason Lester.

The Cherry Creek school district is holding six candidate forums to give parents, staff and community members the opportunity to get to know the candidates running for the two open seats on the CSSD Board of Education. The first forum was held on Tuesday, September 14 at Overland High School. The remaining five events will be held at:

Eaglecrest High School auditorium
September 21, 2021
6:30 p.m.

Cherry Creek High School auditorium
September 22, 2021
6:30 p.m.

Grandview High School auditorium
September 28, 2021
6:30 p.m.

Smoky Hill High School auditorium
September 30, 2021
6:30 p.m.

Cherokee Trail High School auditorium
October 7, 2021
6:30 p.m.