Romer v. Hancock for Denver Mayor

The field is set for the Denver Mayoral runoff, with the two longtime favorites in the race ready for the sprint to the June 7th winner-take-all election. It’s former state Sen. Chris Romer squaring off against former Denver City Council President Michael Hancock for all of Denver’s marbles.

The unofficial results show Romer taking the top spot with 28.49% of the vote, compared to 27.07% for Hancock (for a total difference of about 1,600 votes). But the most important person in this race may very well be the man who came in third, James Mejia, who grabbed 25.74% of the vote but ended up about 1,500 votes shy of second place. Mejia may hold the key to the Mayor’s office; if he endorses Hancock or Romer — and works hard to convince his supporters to do the same — that support could make the difference in June.

Romer may be able to still win the runoff without Mejia’s support, thanks to his fundraising ability and his tremendous advantage in name ID. But Mejia’s support is absolutely critical for Hancock, who will no doubt get absolutely hammered for his asinine City Council vote in March to approve a pay raise for Denver elected officials. Romer hadn’t used the issue in his early commercials, because as the frontrunner he didn’t need to attack any of the other candidates in order to make the runoff. But there’s no way that Romer won’t be unloading on Hancock over the pay raise vote, and Hancock doesn’t have a good answer in response. Unless Hancock can form something of an “anti-Romer” coalition, the key to which is Mejia’s support, we don’t see how he’ll be able to get out from underneath that one boneheaded vote.

We’re finally down to the final two in the race for what many politicos (including us here at Colorado Pols) consider to be the marquee elected position in Colorado. What say you, Polsters? Click below to vote…

Who Will Be Elected Mayor of Denver

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60 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    You ran a great campaign.  I personally thought you would have made a much better mayor that Hancock.  Looking forward to working with you in the very near future.

    My Sincere Best Wishes,

    Chris Romero

    PS.  Hope you enjoy the cupcakes, I tried really hard to find you some fresh churros but couldn’t find any in Cherry Creek.

  2. MADCO says:

    Also the Metro Taxi drivers will line up for Romer.

  3. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    So I guess it’ll depend on if he holds a real grudge against one of the two. Even a good job offer couldn’t do it. Like Droll mentioned yesterday, he’s got a job he loves already. He’d be perfectly justified in sitting this one out.  

    • Joe Colorado says:

      …as he could write his new job description in the next administration.  Though he’s surely above quid pro quo.  As far as scores to settle, I wouldn’t be surprised if those first-round dust ups with Mejia (really the only personal shots of the whole campaign…did they give Hancock his opening to seize second?) could come back to haunt Ol’ Silver Spoon when Mejia endorses Hancock.

  4. Ignatius O'Reilly says:

    If I’m Romer, I’m pounding on the outsider message — I’m the only one in this race who created jobs, met payroll, started successful DPS schools. Romer for change. And I’d blame Hancock for any City Hall screwup — cost overruns on construction projects; rogue city cops (I like this one because it hits Hancock’s lefty-inclined base); and, as Pols says, the pay raise for city council in the midst of a terrible economy.

    If I’m Hancock, I keep running on my powerful biography while priming my base (and sucking up to Mejia voters in west Denver) with some class-bashing — How can Romer be for DPS when he sent his own kids to Graland; Romer wants to turn I-70 into a tollroad; he’s the king of pot dispensaries; and he’s a bagman for a bond industry that saddled so many cities with crazy debt but left him with a $500K salary.

    If you were campaign manager, what would you do? Is it a get-out-the-base election, or a pander to the middle campaign?

  5. Middle of the Road says:

    bodies reversed.  

  6. BlueCat says:

    I think Hancock would be a fine mayor. Think Romer, who I find a bit ditzy from his legisaltive days, will win.

    and I must say I saw tons of Hancock and Romer ads in the final weeks.  The terrific Hancock ad obviously helped him come very close to overcoming Romer name rec advantage.  Saw very little and nothing very good on the tube from the Mejia campaign.  A TV ad campaign as good as Hancock’s could easily have made the difference. And he wouldn’t have had pay raise vote issue to deal with against Romer.

    • Tea Party Skeptic says:

      Romer raised twice as much, had much higher name recognition and the Denver Post.  Yet, he came within 4000 votes of not making the runoff.  70% voted No on Romer and where do those votes go? Who was choice #2 for most voters?  Was it Romer?

      • droll says:

        I’ve been thinking of the odd votes, too. Had the second tier candidates not been on the ballot at all, I suspect we’d have Mejia in the runoff. My instinct is that most will either go Hancock or sit out.

        BUT, the more I think of it the more I think I’m wrong. It’s the Latino vote. Romer, correct or not, actually has immigration/Hispanic friendly things to point to. And does. Does Hancock? I never heard him mention anything, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If that’s the case, we have new Romer backers.

        I think it’s too early to tell until the adverts come out. Then we’ll know pdq. IMO

        • Ignatius O'Reilly says:

          True! But if Romer starts talking about his support for in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants, he alienates his southeast Denver base, which doesn’t know about it.

          Hancock is business-friendly enough that Romer can’t take his own Republican support/base for granted.

          • droll says:

            in my head. You know Hancock is black, right? Romer’s the white guy?

            I’m not calling people in Denver racist, well, not really, but a lot of folks voted and endorsed in a completely stereotypical way. Romer’s base is his base. After all, a vote for Romer is a vote for Penry!

            Anyway, since the partisan Republicans know what he actually has power to do, I’m guessing a random rant now and then is a pretty good trade off. They live in Denver. They’re used to it.

            • Ignatius O'Reilly says:

              Good thing Pols is here to set me straight!

              Is he whiter than Hick?

              • droll says:

                Governor must be hard work. Seems like we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of trouble…

                Good rebuttal though.

                • Ignatius O'Reilly says:

                  Trying to say that it’s dicey for Romer to go left because doesn’t have a lock on Republican votes — Hancock has inroads with the downtown business/developer crowd, and can offer himself as an alternative to Romer for the voters motivated by taxes and regulation.

                  It’s easier for Hancock to run apart from his base, because his base is more likely to stick with him even if he talks about more GOP-friendly issues. Hard to see how the left could view Romer as an alternative.

                  • droll says:

                    and is like Romer, who somehow only goes the one way?

                    Romer doesn’t have to “go left”. We live in Denver. Everyone is kind of left. Romer also hasn’t been hiding any of the school choices for immigrants, legal or otherwise. He’s been using it as cred the entire time.

                    Hancock is the one in the sticky situation. He was endorsed by meh-lefty Dems and may have trouble going anywhere. Romer was, for some reason, endorsed by Progressive Dems and Josh Penry. Figure that the fuck out. Denver hates Cary Kennedy, right?

                    The GOP base is “got.” There’s no un-getting. Because this is Denver. Certainly not a change with the racist faction of it to vote for a brother.

                    You’re confused about Romer being left? Well so am I. But he is!

                    I’m more confused on how you think Hancock runs right WITHOUT opening a nasty, nasty door. If he’s smart, he’ll run Denver middle and left.

                    Linkhart supporters belong to Hancock now or sit out. That’s the only definite I see for him.

      • brio says:

        Personally I don’t much like Hancock or Romer, but I’d give 3:2 on Hancock.  Romer has to be shitting bricks not to have done better in round 1, with all his advantages.  

  7. WitnessProtectionForGeeks says:

    I could win with either hand.

    Non policy factors



    Both have policy weaknesses and enemies.  Mejia’s major supporters are key (Doug also matters), but they may not move on mass.  

  8. droll says:

    Since my strategy didn’t work and my streak has ended (I guess I should be happy for that), I’d like to take a moment to express my wild hope for the runoff.

    I hope Chris Romer loses so badly that he can’t stand to show his face in our politics ever again. Then he can back to his private sector jobs in other states he’s so proud of with all the cupcakes he wants. If this race were between Romer and The Donald, I’d happily vote for Mayor Trump. How much worse could he be? I mean, at least he knows Gary Busey.

  9. BlueCat says:

    but would be happy to be wrong and see a Hancock win. Has any polling been done on second choices, especially among Mejia supporters?

    • Aristotle says:

      But it’s more a vote against the state senator who cravenly ran for re-election while planning all along to resign the post, thus letting some committee determine who my next state senator would be instead of me, than it is for the guy who stupidly voted himself a pay raise.

      • BlueCat says:

        are also planning to support Hancock.  I wonder if it matters so much who, if either, Mejia himself endorses.  

        • Mejia is an honest guy and people want to see his endorsement succeed – that said, I’ll be shocked if Mejia endorses Romer (don’t do it James!)

          • BlueCat says:

            from what I’m hearing now, more Mejia supporters are likely to support Hancock even if Mejia doesn’t endorse or endorses Romer. Still think a new Romer campaign making a major deal out of the Hancock city council raise vote makes this look better for Romer than it otherwise would. Good luck to Hancock, though.  

    • TheDeminator says:

      As a former Mejia supporter I am going to be casting for Romer.  I am not thrilled with the idea of either of them being mayor to be honest.   The city lost out by not having Mejia as it’s mayor.

      It is a shame Doug Linkhart and the MMJ Community decided to be a spolier for Mejia and now totally have the two worst mayor’s choices for their industry.

  10. Voyageur says:

    I know he was the second choice for a lot of Mejia, Boigon and Linkhart supporters (as well as Hancock, who of course made the runoff)  I suspect he’ll also do well with Spahn backers, though to be honest I never had a voter tell me they were voting for her.

       Some of the anti-Romer tirades here remind me that the Sore Loserman campaign lives on.  If Chris hadn’t made the runoff, my backup was Hancock (after Boigon withdrew.)  I think we’re lucky to have the choice between two fine candidates.

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      I mean, I think I might not be in love with you anymore now, Voy. 🙁

      • Voyageur says:

        Chris has the most practical vision of how to address this city’s problems, especially from the financial side.  We had a long lunch which focused on how to keep the area of metropolitan cooperation, a concern of mayors going back to McNichols but brought to an especially effective level with Hick, going in areas such as FasTracks.  Chris to me just has more practical grasp of how to bring change about.  Boigon was my second choice, but alas…  Hancock is also a good man, but Chris just speaks to me better.  I suppose its the fact that we’re both trained as economists and tend to use the same lingo and thinking.  

        • droll says:

          🙂 I kid. I remember when you belonged to the party opposite, so even being in the same ballpark with you is slightly shocking.

          (There’s a burn in there, but I couldn’t figure how to get it out. Sorry.)

        • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

          I can’t stand the smarmy, pretentious egomaniac, personally, but I get your points and it does help to have a shared professional background with someone.

          But as your first choice? Over Mejia? Being born rich doesn’t make someone a clever money manager. And this guy, really, the most practical vision? I mean I guess we could always pick Baltimore’s pockets in a dark alley…

          Thanks for the explanation, though. I’m glad it’s something like that, not something like “we went to high school together.”  

  11. TheDeminator says:

    I am sorry Voygeur,  Romer was the 4th for many of Mejia, Linkhart and Spahn supporters.  You are just lucky hancock was 5th.  

  12. Nast says:

    I don’t really see Mejia endorsing either one of these guys, unless Romer throws too many nasty TV lies at Hancock in his panic to win. Maybe then James will step up for Hancock to prevent Richie Rich from buying the election.

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