Race tight for Keith, incumbent Baker in Arapahoe County commissioner District 3 race

Democrat narrowly up in east Centennial, east Aurora, rural Arapahoe-area seat


A Democratic challenger in the east Centennial and Aurora-area Arapahoe County commissioner district was holding onto a narrow lead the night after Election Day.

Idris Keith led with about 50.1% to Jeff Baker's 50% — with numbers rounded — as of about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 4. Keith's lead was just 87 votes, a number that would trigger an automatic recount if all ballots had been counted at that point.

By law, a recount would be held only if the difference between their votes was less than or equal to one-half of 1% of the leaders's vote count, according to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.

As of the night of Nov. 4, a margin of 200 votes or fewer would trigger a recount, but that number was expected to shift as the vote totals change.

Arapahoe County had at about 2,700 ballots left to be counted that could affect county-level races as of that time, according to a spokesperson for the county Clerk and Recorder's Office.

And more than 6,200 ballots in the county remained to be "cured," meaning corrected by voters due to problems such as signature discrepancies.

Ballots from Colorado citizens living outside the United States and active military personnel absent from Colorado were expected to arrive over the next eight days, and it's unclear how many, according to the clerk's office.

Commissioners make up the governing body of a county, somewhat similar to city councils. District 3 includes east central and southeast Aurora, parts of east Centennial, and everything else in the county east of highway E-470.

Baker, the incumbent commissioner in the district, had played up his experience in the county government — he has more than 21 years as an employee of Arapahoe County working in two different departments. He's a resident of Centennial.

“My top priority will be figuring out how to fund the maintenance of our roads and bridges,” Baker said in a Colorado Community Media questionnaire. “We have unsafe conditions on many streets and roadways.”

Keith, an Aurora resident, boasted about private-sector experience with “multimillion-dollar construction projects” and other matters involving commerce and trade. He said he's also worked with, and in, the public sector.

“Job creation and economic development top my agenda,” Keith said in a Colorado Community Media questionnaire. “The cost of living has continued to increase, but wages have plateaued. Due to COVID, many people are unemployed or facing periods of unpaid furlough.”


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