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Left-leaning hopefuls win a nod from their local paper in Aurora council race

Author: Kara Mason - October 16, 2017 - Updated: October 16, 2017

The Aurora City Council. (

If the Aurora Sentinel editorial board gets what it wants, all five of the Aurora City Council seats up for grabs will be filled with new, and mostly progressive, candidates. The newspaper endorsed all three of the candidates groomed by Emerge Colorado, the organization that prepares women Democrats to run for office.

Allison Hiltz, Nicole Johnston and Crystal Murillo caught the attention of many this year including the Sentinel’s, which wrote a piece highlighting the oddity in A-town politics.

The council is typically a mainstay for conservatives, despite races being nonpartisan. But Emerge Colorado delivered three alumnas to the election this year.

And so the tide may be turning. The Sentinel endorsement says:

“The new wave of city and school board candidates are arguably much more progressive than the have been previously, offering a distinct and contrasting change from past local elections. These two slates of candidates have pulled incumbent conservatives to the left, as well, something reflected in their newer positions on some past conservative touchstones.”

The weekly newspaper also endorsed Martha Lugo, a self-proclaimed progressive, and Tom Tobiassen, former chairman of the Regional Transportation District board.

In the Ward I race, the Sentinel chose Murillo, a 23-year-old University of Denver graduate who previously interned with House Speaker Crisanta Duran, over incumbent Sally Mounier for being, “consistent in showing she has the temerity, the experience and the wisdom to be steadfast in her demand that Aurora serve and protect all residents in her ward and the city, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or their documentation.”

Over in Ward II, the Sentinel endorsed Johnston over four other candidates, including former State Sen. Bob Hagedorn, but added that there really wasn’t a bad choice in the whole race.

Lugo picked up the Ward III endorsement over incumbent Marsha Berzins and three others. Hiltz, who at one point also interned for Duran, and Tobiassen picked up the at-large endorsements.

With 20 candidates, five seats and two incumbents in the race, one thing is for sure, writes the Sentinel:

“Change is guaranteed to come to Aurora as a new generation of Aurora City Council and Aurora Public Schools board candidates usher in new ideas and a drive to bring substantive progress.”

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.