State, local political contests begin in earnest

AURORA | Campaign season is officially gearing up as candidates for Aurora’s state and local seats begin to host fundraising events across the metro area and plan for political signs and mailers.

Many candidates are also resuming work after temporarily suspending their campaigns in the aftermath of the July 20 theater shootings.

State Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, said she is back on the campaign trail and will be hosting a campaign fundraiser tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Denver Film Center with several other state lawmakers running for re-election.

“I’ve been putting things a little bit on hold, especially after the shooting, I didn’t feel comfortable walking or campaigning,” said Fields, who is running against Republican Mike Donald for House District 42.

She plans to meet with her campaign staff later this week and make a schedule of campaign events. Her goal is to raise $50,000. That money will mostly go toward paying for mailers and political signs, and providing food and drinks for her staff when they go canvassing the neighborhoods, she said.

“When you’re running a state race, it takes a lot of money,” she said.

Arapahoe County Commissioner Rod Bockenfeld, a Republican, said he is also getting campaign events on the calendar.

“There are several events that are being scheduled,” said Bockenfeld, who will be competing against Democrat Mollie Martin to keep his commissioner seat. He said he has been knocking on doors and talking to potential voters but won’t start sending mailers or putting up political signs for another few weeks.

This year, Aurora doesn’t have any restrictions on political signs before the election. According to the updated sign code, which went through a major overhaul last year and became effective after the November 2011 election, there aren’t any rules against posting campaign signs early, said Karen Goldman, deputy city clerk.

“People can go ahead and put signs up whenever they’re ready to do it,” Goldman said.

Signs are still expected to be removed a week after the election, though, and they can’t be on public property or on medians.

Until this year, political signs could only be put up in Aurora about six weeks before the election.

Some candidates including Jovan Melton, Democratic candidate for House District 41, said they weren’t aware of Aurora’s updated sign code. Melton has about 150 political signs in his garage waiting to be erected, he said.

Melton, whose campaign kickoff event was scheduled for the day after the shooting, suspended his fundraising activities for about a week after July 20. He is now hosting several campaign fundraising events in the coming weeks, some of them with fellow Democrat, state Sen. Linda Newell, who is running for Senate District 26, and whose Senate district overlaps Melton’s House district.

“We’re in full swing,” Melton said.

Melton’s Republican opponent is Robert Miles, and Newell’s Republican opponent is David Kerber.

Below is a sampling of some candidate fundraising events over the next few days:

Campaign fundraiser for state Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight, Aug. 15, at 2510 Colfax Ave. Denver. Guest speakers include state Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden. Fields is running against Republican Mike Donald.

BBQ in honor of Congressman Mike Coffman, hosted by the Arapahoe County Republicans:

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 19 at 5308 S. Franklin Circle, Greenwood Village. Suggested donation is $30 per person or $50 per family. RSVP to Cassandra Ersland, Coffman is the incumbent Republican candidate for Congressional District 6, running against Democrat Joe Miklosi.

Campaign fundraiser for state Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton

From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Karma Bar & Tapas, 5654 S. Prince St., Littleton. Suggested donation is $55. Newell is running against Republican David Kerber.

Campaign fundraiser for Jovan Melton, Democratic candidate for House District 41, and John Buckner, Democratic candidate for House District 40

From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 at Holland and Hart Law Firm, 555 17th Avenue, Suite 3200, Denver. Melton’s Republican opponent is Robert Miles, and Buckner’s Republican opponent is incumbent state Rep. Cindy Acree, R-Aurora.

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