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Aurora, Colo., is a household name because of the recent tragic movie theater shootings. But come November, the city and some of the other Auroras around the country will help decide which party controls the House of Representatives next year.
There are actually close to two dozen Auroras of various shapes and sizes across the country, and a handful of them sit in some of the most competitive districts in the nation: Colorado’s 6th, Illinois’ 11th, Minnesota’s 8th, New York’s 27th and Wisconsin’s 7th.
President Barack Obama carried four out of the five districts in 2008 and should be competitive in each once again.
Sweeping these five districts wouldn’t guarantee Democrats the majority in the House, but it would be a sign that they are getting closer to the 25-seat net gain they need.
There are other Auroras of less than 200 people in competitive seats such as Iowa’s 1st district and Maine’s 2nd district, and Auroras in seats that could have been competitive if the two parties had done a better job of recruiting candidates, such as West Virginia’s 1st and Oregon’s 5th.
But the following five are at the epicenter of the battle for the House.
Even before the recent tragedy, Aurora was moving into its own identity. During the redistricting process, it was clear that the court drawing the lines wanted the suburban Denver community to have its own district.
The new lines reshaped Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R) district from a safe Republican seat to one of the most competitive districts in the country.
For 24 years, the city had Republican mayors through the father-son combination of Ed and Paul Tauer. Steve Hogan, a Republican who had strong support from Democrats in the race against Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier (R), was elected mayor last year.
Aurora’s growing Hispanic population could give Republicans a headache for years to come in a district that President Barack Obama would have won with 54 percent in 2008.
The good news for Coffman is that he grew up in Aurora and faces Democrat Joe Miklosi, a state legislator who represents part of Denver, outside the 6th district. Coffman starts the general election with a considerable financial advantage: $1.8 million in cash on hand to Mikolsi’s $518,000 in cash on hand as of June 30. The Congressman doesn’t need to win Aurora to get re-elected, but he needs to keep the margin close and make up for that loss elsewhere in the district.