DENVER – Tuesday is the date of Denver’s municipal run-off election, where city voters will decide on the next mayor, clerk and recorder, five city council seats and an ordinance that would force the city and county to ask voters to approve the use of money in connection with future Olympic Games.
Ballots went out several weeks ago, but if you’re still planning on voting Monday or Tuesday before the 7 p.m. close of polls, here’s a rundown on the issues and candidates on which you’ll be voting.
Mayor’s Race: Michael B. Hancock vs. Jamie Giellis
Giellis, the former president of the RiNo Art District and entrepreneur, received the endorsements of the third- and fourth-place finishers in the general election, Lisa Calderon and Penfield Tate.
She and Hancock have also traded barbs over the past several weeks regarding gaffes made by Giellis on social media and in debates and alleged sexual harassment by Hancock of a former member of his security detail, who called Hancock a liar after a debate last week and endorsed Giellis.
Hancock raised nearly $700,000 in the final month of the election, while Giellis raised about one-third as much. Hancock is eyeing what would be his third and final term should voters elect him.
“It’s been intense,” Giellis said Monday. “Denver hasn’t seen a runoff process like this for a long time.”
“This is the best time during the campaign – the last, you know, week, the last weekend,” Hancock said. “It’s knocking on every door; it’s making every phone call; it’s communicating with our neighbors, our friends, our family.”
Initiated Ordinance 302
This measure did not appear on the May 7 general election ballot but is appearing on the run-off ballot. The proposed ordinance is called “Let Denver Vote.”
The measure asks voters whether the city’s municipal code should be modified to require voter approval in order for the city or county to use public funds in connection with any future Olympic Games.
The push to get the measure on the municipal ballot started when city leaders began exploring the idea of a Denver Olympics last year. Ultimately, Denver was eliminated from consideration for the 2030 Games, but officials could continue to look at other future Games.
Proponents say approval of the measure would give taxpayers more of a say in what the city does with their money, while opponents say the ordinance is too broad and could stop city officials from considering privately-funded bids.
Councilmember District 1: Amanda Sandoval vs. Mike Somma
Both candidates have experience with area fire crews – Amanda Sandoval as an administrator and legislative liaison, and Michael Somma as a fire lieutenant. One of the two will be replacing Rafael Espinoza, who decided not to seek a second term.
Sandoval, whose father and stepmother were state lawmakers, has been endorsed by Espinoza and several former mayors.
Sandoval took home 31.2% of the vote in May, while Sommar received 17% of the vote.
Councilmember District 3: Jamie Torres vs. Veronica Barela
Jamie Torres and Veronica Barela are vying for the open seat in District 3. Torres received 40.2% of the vote in May, while Barela brought home 36.3%. Both have spent most of their lives living in the district and have raised similar amounts of money.
Both have talked extensively about gentrification in their district and about giving community members more of a say in planning in their neighborhoods.
Councilmember District 5: Amanda Sawyer vs. Mary Beth Susman
Mary Beth Susman is the incumbent in District 5 but finished closely behind Sawyer in May’s first round of elections. She won 36% of the votes in the race in May, to Sawyer’s 40.7% of the vote.
Sawyer has called for infrastructure changes to the area to accommodate the massive influx of new housing and residents and says she will listen to constituents rather than developers if she is elected.
Susman says her experience on the council is more favorable to the position that Sawyer’s experience and has talked about affordable housing needs and congestion issues being among her top priorities, which also include support for a Denver transportation department.
Councilmember District 9: Candi CdeBaca vs. Albus Brooks
Albus Brooks is the incumbent and is seeking his third term in office, while CdeBaca has been an outspoken voice in District 9, particularly in her fight against the I-70 expansion and gentrification.
Brooks brought home 44.8% of the vote in the first round of the election, while CdeBaca trailed him narrowly, with 43.1% of the vote.
Brooks says he works with community members and developers to craft a way forward, while CdeBaca has argued that Brooks and other politicians work too closely with business interests working to develop Denver.
Councilmember District 10: Wayne New vs. Chris Hinds
Wayne New is the incumbent in District 10 and took home 39% of the vote in the first round in May. Chris Hinds took home 30.3% of the vote.
New is a former hospital executive who claims to be a fiscal conservative but socially liberal and who has supported restrictions on slot homes and new mixed-use transit in the Capitol Hill, Cherry Creek and surrounding neighborhoods.
Hinds claims to be more progressive than new and has also supported mixed-used transit projects, with more of a focus on bike lanes and buses. He, like several other council candidates, have been working on ways to turn more single-family homes into multi-dwelling structures.
City Clerk and Recorder: Paul D. Lopez vs. Peg Perl
Paul Lopez is a term-limited District 3 councilman and Peg Perl has previously worked as a campaign finance and political consultant on the U.S. House Ethics Committee.
Lopez narrowly edged out Perl in the May 7 election, 36.9% to 32.7%. Sarah O. McCarthy finished just behind the two, with 30.4% of the vote, and has since endorsed Lopez.
The clerk and recorder is tasked with overseeing elections and overseeing licenses and other records.
Polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, so anyone will be able to drop their ballot off at a location before then. Denver7 will have updated election results here on Tuesday evening.