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Conservation Colorado’s unprecedented investments in 2023 municipal races resulted in pro-conservation wins across the state

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DENVERThis year, Conservation Colorado and its political committees made their largest investment into municipal elections ever. We invested $232,905, called over 10,000 people, and knocked on over 2,000 doors in support of our 21 endorsed candidates across the state. 

This work paid off as we saw pro-conservation candidates for mayor and city council win in races across the state. These results show that Colorado voters want bold leadership to protect communities, lands, water and air.

Overall, progressive groups were outspent 4 to 1 by the opposition supporting anti-conservation candidates. Voters in Commerce City, Lakewood and Westminster saw through the anti-conservation rhetoric by the opposition and now these city councils have pro-conservation majorities. If results hold, the Thornton City Council will also be a pro-conservation majority, although votes are still being counted.

“Tuesday’s municipal elections demonstrated both incredible public support for protecting our environment and communities, as well as  the urgent need to continue fighting for conservation in Colorado,” said Aly Ferrufino-Coqueugniot, Political Director for Conservation Colorado. “This year marked our largest ever investment in municipal races and we are grateful for the work of our endorsed candidates and the support from the people of Colorado.”

Anti-conservation groups outspent progressive groups 5 to 1 in this election in Commerce City. Despite this, we maintained our pro-conservation majority on the City Council. Conservation champions Steve Douglas for Mayor, Renée Millard-Chacon for Ward 3, and Susan Noble for Ward 4 all won their respective races. The people of Commerce City are consistently subjected to environmental injustice by the oil and gas industry and industrial polluters so holding a pro-conservation majority in the city was of vital importance.

In Lakewood, all three of Conservation Colorado’s endorsed candidates won their elections, adding to a pro-conservation majority on the City Council. Wendi Strom won the Lakewood mayoral race and Glenda Sinks and Isabel Cruz won seats on the City Council. 

Also, in Westminster, our endorsees Claire Carmelia and Amber Hott each won seats on the City Council, flipping the City Council to a pro-conservation majority. Carmelia is an expert in water conservation and Hott is passionate about sustainable land use and open space. 

In Thornton, our endorsee Justin Martinez won his race to gain a seat on City Council while another endorsee Roberta Ayala — currently holding a lead in her City Council race — would give the Council a pro-conservation majority if results hold.

In Aurora, progressive groups were outspent by the opposition by an 8:1 ratio and did not secure a pro-conservation majority on the Aurora City Council. However, our endorsed candidate Alison Coombs received the most votes in the At-Large City Councilmember race and will become the first openly LGBTQIA+ person elected citywide in Aurora. Councilmember Coombs will continue her work as a conservation champion while serving on the City Council.

Incumbent Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar, a supporter of a just transition to clean energy, made it to the mayoral run-off election among a crowded field of nine candidates. 

The pro-conservation wins in these mayoral and city council races indicate that Colorado voters prioritize environmental issues. Conservation Colorado is proud to have supported the pro-environmental leadership in Aurora, Thornton, Commerce City, Pueblo, Westminster and Lakewood.