For the first time in 24 years, Aurora won’t have a Mayor Tauer. Instead, another steady fixture in the sprawling suburb’s civic firmament, former Councilman Steve Hogan, will be sworn in as mayor later this month after scoring a decisive win on Tuesday over Councilman Ryan Frazier, his chief opponent, and four other candidates.
Hogan takes over on Nov. 14 from term-limited Mayor Ed Tauer, who followed his father, former Mayor Paul Tauer, in the top office of the state’s third-largest city.
Running 7 points ahead of Frazier, Hogan secured an office he’s had his eye on for decades. The Republican has served six non-consecutive terms on the Aurora City Council, beginning in 1979 when he was a Democrat fresh out of the Legislature and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1982 and for mayor once before in 1987. Outside elective office, Hogan helmed the construction of E-470 and the Northwest Parkway for 17 years.
Hogan celebrated his win with an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and well-wishers at the clubhouse on the Aurora Hills golf course, but there wasn’t much of the usual election-night tension.
“The last 10 days, we really saw things moving, so I’m not as surprised as I might have been,” Hogan told The Colorado Statesman. In fact, he said, the campaign wasn’t even out chasing ballots up until polls closed as a storm moved in on Tuesday evening — an unusual admission of confidence from a candidate.
“We worked it right up until noon Monday,” Hogan said with a smile.
What swung it for his campaign was “boots on the ground and knocking on the doors, almost like an old-fashioned campaign,” Hogan said. “I think we worked harder.”
It was the third time in recent years Frazier failed to catapult to higher office, following a short-lived run for the 2010 Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate and a loss to U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in CD 7 in the election a year ago. Frazier could have run for a third term as an at-large Aurora City Council member but instead ran for mayor.
Striking a note of metro-wide cooperation made familiar by his predecessor, Hogan sat down with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for coffee and a get-acquainted chat the morning after his election.
Hogan had the backing of much of the city’s traditional power structure, with endorsements from former mayors and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including a nod from Perlmutter. (Aurora’s other congressman, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, backed Frazier.) The local AFL-CIO weighed in on Hogan’s side too, blurring the lines a bit for those who wanted to portray the nonpartisan election as a proxy fight between Democrats and Republicans of different stripes.
Still, there’s no denying real estate agent and mortgage broker Jude Sandvall, who ran third, siphoned some conservative votes that might have otherwise gone to Frazier. The economic populist ran a lean campaign bolstered by the endorsements of high-profile Republicans and Tea Party followers and is said to have his eye on the state House seat that comes open next year after state Rep. David Balmer faces term limits.
And the campaign of former state Rep. Debbie Stafford, elected to the Legislature four times as a Republican but who ran with at least the nominal support of local Democratic organizations, failed to catch fire. She placed fourth in the balloting, ahead of past RTD board member Barbara Yamrick and hypnotherapist Sheilah Thomas Davis.
In the final, unofficial results Hogan had 14,025 votes, or 37 percent of the total, to Frazier’s 11,381, or 30 percent. Sandvall was next with 5,459, or 15 percent, trailed by Stafford’s 4,283 votes, or 11 percent, with Davis and Yamrick bringing up the rear at 1,344 votes, or 4 percent, and 967 votes, or 3 percent, respectively.
Aurora voters also picked two new at-large city council members, sending former Councilman Bob LeGare back for another, nonconsecutive term, and electing newcomer Debi Hunter-Holen, the lone Democrat in the field, to the second at-large seat. Incumbent Brad Pierce and a former ward councilman Dave Williams, came in third and fourth, respectively, in the race that went to the top two vote-getters. Political novice James Frye trailed the field.
Incumbents Molly Markert, Bob Roth and Bob Broom all won additional terms to represent their wards.
Voters also rejected two tax questions, one to fund a library district and another to pay for recreation centers, but approved a measure to clarify term limits for city officials.