Aurora voters are selecting City Council members to represent Wards I, II and III, as well as two at-large members to represent the entire city.
The first batch of election results released Tuesday night showed Dustin Zvonek and Danielle Jurinsky leading among six at-large candidates with 24% and 21% of the early vote, respectively, as of 9 p.m. Tuesday. John Ronquillo followed in third with 18% of early returns.
“I feel hopeful. I feel good,” Jurinsky told Newsline after the initial results were posted. “I feel hopeful for the future of Aurora tonight.”
Ronquillo said he anticipated “a long night.”
“We’ll wait and make sure that everyone is counted. Kind of an awkward position to be in third when it’s the top two vote-getters, but probably in for a long night,” he told Newsline. “And the way we’ve voted out here in Arapahoe County and in Aurora, we don’t always know who wins the first night. So it could be a couple of days.”
In Ward I, incumbent Councilmember Crystal Murillo was in the lead with 51% of the vote as of 9 p.m. Steve Sundberg led early results in Ward II with 49% of the vote, while Jono Scott held the lead in Ward III over opponent Ruben Medina.
The nonpartisan Aurora City Council race saw an infusion of dollars from political arms of local, state and national advocacy organizations. Some large last-minute donations included in campaign finance documents filed with the city came from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ($1,000 to Ronquillo on Oct. 30); Comcast Political Action Committee ($1,000 each to Becky Hogan and Zvonek on Oct. 29); and Service Employees International Union Local 105 ($4,000 to Medina on Oct. 22). Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb donated $1,000 to Hogan’s campaign on Oct. 28, campaign finance documents show.
Zvonek, the leading at-large candidate, formerly worked as a congressional aide for then-U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman — a Republican now serving as mayor of Aurora. Zvonek is also the former vice president of strategy and innovation for national conservative group Americans for Prosperity. If elected to City Council, Zvonek’s website says he will prioritize training and support for Aurora’s police and fire departments and work to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the community. Zvonek supports a “commonsense camping ban” coupled with designated camping locations, according to his website.
Jurinsky, a small business entrepreneur and Air Force veteran, wants to advance more business-friendly policies to recapture jobs and revenue from neighboring cities, according to her website. She is a graduate of Overland High School. Jurinsky formerly served as a military police officer, contributing to a background that makes her uniquely suited to “help rebuild mutual respect and trust between law enforcement and our diverse community,” her website says. If elected, Jurinsky has said she will fight to lower the city’s taxes and fees.
At-large candidate Ronquillo — who was in third place after Jurinsky as of 9 p.m. Tuesday — teaches and conducts research at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs, according to his website. He’s served on the Advisory Council for the Colorado COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, as well as the boards of directors for Servicios de La Raza and the Arapahoe County Foundation. Ronquillo supports protections for people at risk of eviction or foreclosure. To reduce crime, he believes the city should invest more in rehabilitation and reentry programs for people leaving jail or prison while steering away from punitive measures.
Originally published by Colorado Newsline.