Money Race For Denver Mayor Is Not Close

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Westword’s Michael Roberts reports on the state of play in the Denver mayoral race with mail ballots set to go out next week–a contest high on rhetoric,

But when it comes to raising money, the contest to date is a runaway.

According to statistics through March 31 assembled by Denver-based CleanSlateNow Action, whose goal is to fight “the corrupting influence of big money in politics,” current Mayor Michael Hancock has raised around twice as many dollars as the other five hopefuls on the ballot combined, and more than triple the amount collected by his next closest fiscal competitor… [Pols emphasis]

Of course, having a fatter wallet than any of his challengers doesn’t guarantee Hancock a victory in anything other than yard signs and prime TV time — a point [opponent Lisa] Calderón underscores in a comment shared with Westword about Referred Measure 2E, which was approved by voters in 2018 but doesn’t go into effect until next year (and will impact the mayor’s face for the first time in 2023). The so-called “Democracy for the People” measure will limit mayoral-contest donations to $1,000, ban corporate donations, and enable a public-financing program.

It’s tough to get a read right now on the field of five candidates vying to oust Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, like which if any is consolidating enough support to prevent the most likely outcome: the fragmented “Anybody But Hancock” opposition splitting between the alternatives and handing Hancock another term. There’s a possibility of a runoff election if no candidate gets 50% of the vote, but historically incumbent Denver mayors win by a much greater majority–like John Hickenlooper’s 86% margin in 2007. For all of the discontent with Denver city government over infrastructure, housing costs, police misconduct, the treatment of the poor and homeless, and a laundry list of other issues, we haven’t seen anyone emerge in this race with a winning coalition–though we’re watching to be proven wrong.

With that in mind, nothing says fait accompli like doubling up the rest of the pack combined.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    Doesn't Hancock have to clear 50% in order to win outright?  I thought it goes to a runoff with the top two vote getters if nobody clears 50% next month. 

    • Colorado Pols says:

      That's correct, though a majority for the incumbent is historically likely–Hickenlooper was re-elected by 86% in 2007. We'll note the possibility and you're right to point it out.

      • unnamed says:

        The issue I have with the wording is that the "Anybody but Hancock" group could be fragmented among other candidates, but consolidate in a runoff if Hancock doesn't break 50%.


        • Colorado Pols says:

          No argument with that, they'll just have to keep Hancock under 50% first.

          • bullshit! says:

            The money says he's got it.

            But my question is, why hasn't anybody polled the race? Do they usually poll mayor races?

            • unnamed says:

              To be honest with you, I hope not.  I'm not a fan of his.

              • Davie says:

                There are a lot of disgruntled folks in my neck of Denver due to the steamroller development Hancock has allowed.  I've been to a couple of candidate forums and his reception has been less than enthusiastic.

                Together, Tate, Giellis and Calderon could keep him below 50%.  Whether their respective supporters then pool their votes for the survivor in a runoff is hard to answer.  Any one of the three would be better in my opinion (with my preferences in reverse order of their total fundraising).

                We'll see if the number of gruntled voters outnumber the disgruntled.

                • unnamed says:

                  My wife voted for him in 2011 and has regretted it ever since.  She absolutely hates him.

                  • harrydoby says:

                    I just took a trip down memory lane regarding the 2011 election.  I was initially for James Mejia, who didn't make the runoff, winding up between Romer and Hancock. 

                    I really didn't like Chris Romer, so Hancock got my support.  Now I know why Mejia supported Republican-Lite Romer — Mejia a few years later turned out also to be a DINO.  

                    Funny though, that Pols thought this endorsement meant game-over for Hancock devil

                • mamajama55 says:

                  I can't vote for Denver Mayor, but Hancock has been on my naughty list since he pushed through breed-specific legislation (BSL) as a councilman, thereby pushing all of the owners of pit bulls out from Denver to Jefferson County, and sentencing thousands of perfectly good dogs to die.

                  In fairness to Hancock, he was bitten on the butt by a pit bull as a child, which was undoubtedly traumatic, but he could have taken the trouble to inform himself about which dogs are truly dangerous as an adult. (Hint: most dogs can be dangerous)


                • notaskinnycook says:

                  I've got no love for him, either; the way he's sold out the architectural integrity of the city to greedy developers. I can see two cranes from my kitchen window, both constructing giant luxury apartment buildings. Just what we need in West Wash Park–1000 more people living in ugly multi-colored boxes.

                  • Wong21fr says:

                    Yes.  We do need 1,000 more people living in West Wash Park.  In fact we need about 20,000 to 30,000 more housing units in the City to address the critical housing shortage and getting the price equilibrium down to the point where more people can get into market rate housing versus whining for subsidized housing.  Only Hancock and Giellis seem to recognize this.  But, Giellis is playing the game that existing neighborhoods don't have to accommodate this growth and can be preserved untouched.  That all the growth can go into brownfield developments.

  2. davebarnes says:

    I think the money is not really relevant.
    I think name recognition is what is important.
    The average voter who will vote soon could not name a single candidate other than HandOnCock.

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