AURORA | Among his family, a few dozen supporters and a Hallmark holiday movie playing silently in the background of the Arapahoe County Democrats headquarters, Omar Montgomery formally ended his campaign for Aurora mayor on Monday.
It was nearly two weeks after Election Day.
Montgomery, a college instructor and local NAACP president, trailed Mayor-elect Mike Coffman by 215 votes when counting finally came to an end on Thursday. Montgomery said he and his team analyzed every option, including legal possibilities, over the weekend, but they couldn’t find a path that led the first-time candidate to victory.
“We had some of the best statisticians, best legal minds in this particular area, and some of them came on to volunteer and (were) like ‘we want to see if there’s a path to victory,’” Montgomery said.
Montgomery thanked his supporters, but never mentioned Coffman by name. He said he called and left a message for the new mayor just before he addressed his supporters.
Like Coffman, Montgomery pointed to the election process itself as troubling.
“We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Montgomery said. “There’s no way ballots should be sitting in the post office. They should be in peoples’ mailboxes, so that they can vote. There’s no way somebody should be confused in our of our most diverse areas that speak over 100 different languages where you have a two-ballot system that confused everyone. Do we think that impacted the election? Yes. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen to any other candidate again because people didn’t get a chance to express the most precious thing they have as a right as a citizen. That’s the right to vote.”
Montgomery said his team wasn’t consulted when more than 17,000 ballots in Adams County had to be replaced because of an error in the at-large race.
Coffman said he’d like to see “a deep dive” into the mistakes that happened over the course of the election.
Ultimately, Montgomery said he believes Aurora should have a run-off election. In most cases a run-off election would eliminate any winning candidate from receiving less than half of the vote. Coffman received 35.7% of the vote in the race.
While Montgomery said he’ll be taking some time to spend with his family, he’s not done working for Aurora. He said he would like to see continued support for Aurora Central High School, more police transparency, including an independent review board, and more focus on how development impacts low-income residents in the city.
“We’ll work with the newly-elected administration to continue to have that vision to make the city of Aurora the best city in the state of Colorado,” he said.