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May 07, 2011 03:33 AM UTC

A Woman's Choice - The next big battle for Denver mayor?

  • by: TheDeminator

I just got an odd email from the Romer Campaign via his new champion Theresa Spahn attacking Michael Hancock on his stance on Choice.

It got me thinking, does a mayor’s candidates stance on Choice matter to you at the voting booth?

Feel free to share your thoughts, the email is below so you can see what Romer is saying.

Michael Hancock, who refuses to say whether he’s pro-choice, also says it’s not an issue for Denver voters, and is unaware of the Mayor’s responsibilities on reproductive health care.

On Thursday, in response to a reporter’s question on the importance of women voters and choice in the Mayoral race, Hancock stated, “I think there comes a time as politicians we overreach and we talk about things we really don’t have an impact on. I’d rather talk about those issues that families told me they care about when I met with Highland Mommies, they didn’t talk about choice.”

According to Melanie Fitzroy, who lives in the Highlands neighborhood and is a member of the Highlands Mommies, “Just because we didn’t talk about choice doesn’t mean it’s not important.”

Join me in asking Chris’ opponent where he stands on this critical issue.

One of the reasons I endorsed Chris Romer is because he walks the walk on choice. I’m really troubled that Michael Hancock doesn’t appreciate the significant role the mayor plays when it comes to choice.

The Mayor’s responsibilities include:

Appointments to the Denver Health and Hospital Authority Board of Directors, which sets policy for the most significant health system in Denver providing reproductive health care.

Title X federal block grants administered by Denver’s Department of Health and Human Services which provides thousands of low-income Denver women reproductive health care services.

Enforcement of provider/patient protection laws by the Denver Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office.

Direct control of the enforcement of numerous laws protecting providers and patients in reproductive health, such as the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance (FACE) Act, making property destruction, obstruction, and other means of intimidation outside of health centers carry civil and criminal penalties.

Implementing critical state and federal laws on choice issues in Denver such as HB 10-1021, requiring that all plans on the individual insurance market cover prenatal care and contraception, and prohibits pregnancy from being considered a pre-existing condition, going into effect January 1, 2011.

Implementing state and federal funding and grants on reproductive issues.

Click here to ask Chris’ opponent where he stands on choice.

We deserve better.


Theresa Spahn

Former Mayoral Candidate

Romer for Mayor

Does where a mayoral candidate stand on choice change your mind?

View Results

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52 thoughts on “A Woman’s Choice – The next big battle for Denver mayor?

    1. I have no idea why team Romer would use this besides as a list building tool.  There are a number of issues including pre school, parks and afterschool programs the mayor has much greater control over compared to choice or anti choice.

      P.S. load the Catapult with mud, here comes the fun from both sides.  

      1. I think Romer has more baggage and now can be pointed to as “starting it.”

        Good move by Team Romer! Who needs readily available information when you have… oh right. But seriously.

      2. Maybe. But it’s more to throw Hancock off guard and announce that Romer has taken off the gloves. Get Hancock in a defensive crouch three days after the election.

          1. That romer turns off some “nice” Democrats who are shocked, shocked! that he’s attacking like this? Anyone who’s been paying any attention to this race might only be surprised at the specific attack, not that it happened.

            Remember when Bennet went after Romanoff for voting to undermine Social Security? This attack is just like that. You get your opponent all riled up, take him off message for a few days, and plant tiny seeds of doubt out there.

            But mainly it gets inside your opponent’s head. That’s going to be tough to do with Hancock, who seems remarkably cool, but what do you think the news is tonight? Hint: it’s not Linkhart’s endorsement.

            1. and on Linkhart’s endorsement being marginalized. Just confused why abortion was the issue he chose to hit on. Spahn mentioned it in her endorsement, but who do women voters trust more? Theresa or planned parenthood?

              1. Who did Democrats trust more on Social Security, beloved Andrew Romanoff or the pugnacious attack spokesman for Bennet? It put Romanoff off his game for days, it cost him money he could have spent elsewhere to respond to it thoroughly enough to be sure his response got out, and it cost the Bennet crew pretty much nothing.

                It’s about attacking your opponent on his strengths so audaciously that you take control of things.

                You can bet Hancock is prepared for some attacks. You can also bet he wasn’t prepared for this.  

                1. Hancock responded by saying he’s not going negative and off message.

                  Romer’s team is sloppy here. The endorsement has been out there. They should’ve checked for something Hancock would have to write instead of something he only had to link to.

                2. Some of Bennet’s most avid supporters (like me) called foul immediately when his campaign did the Social Security slam. I give him credit for the retraction. Romanoff wasn’t exactly Father Theresa with his greased palm commercial either. Please, dear Lord, let us never relive that Senate primary!

                  1. No he didn’t, at least not in public, and not before the primary. If he privately backed off it to you and some “avid supporters,” that came after he gained full advantage of the attack in the vote less than a week after he went out with the charge, and word of it never got outside this group you’re describing.

                    Regardless, no one actually believes Romanoff wants to privatize Social Security, and months from now no one will believe Romer got mileage from accusing Hancock of being soft on choice. It doesn’t matter whether either charge was true, it matters whether the attack can get slow learners like bobster below to keep asking the question: “Why hasn’t Hancock said whether he is pro choice?” It’s a bogus question, despite what you say below, because Romer knows the answer, and it’s not the one he’s insinuating. (Hancock is pro-choice and always has been.)

                3. If Bennet retracted it, I never heard about it. So damage done.

                  With such a small window it might very well plant seeds. I still stand by comment above, but understand what you’re saying about campaigns in general.

                  1. And as far as I can tell the facts were on his side. Cue Adam Schrager…


                    QUOTE: And Andrew Romanoff: he’s the one helping Wall Street. Romanoff supported George Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.

                    TRUTH: This is true.

                    I don’t really want to dredge up the primary, and I’m sure it’s something that Andrew doesn’t agree with anymore, is a vote he regrets, whatever. But it was not a false attack from Bennet. The facts were clearly on his side.

                    This choice thing is basically using pure speculation as attack. It would have been like saying Romanoff supported killing puppies because he hadn’t said he didn’t, or something to that effect. But in Bennet’s case they actually had a vote. These are not equivalent situations.  

      3. Bennet was very effective reaching independent women with the pro-choice issue. They were the must-have demographic. Most Coloradans are pro-choice, even if they are conservative on other issues. Adam Dunstone (Romer’s campaign manager) knows that. Dunstone is very smart — it’s a politically effective strategy to raise the question. He also was wise enough to use a surrogate (Theresa Spahn) to bring up the issue, rather than Chris himself.

        The only thing I would have done differently is to not use official campaign email. Theresa could have brought it up on HuffPo or Pols, and we would have all thought she was brilliant to ask. Denver’s daily rag and the Statesman could have pursued it, too. Using official campaign email has obviously ruffled a bunch of feathers here (heck, we all jumped on Pols as soon as we got it on a Friday night), so maybe elsewhere, too. It has the effect of making Romer look a little desparate, the way it was sent out.

        On the other hand, the issue is legitimate. Besides the ways a Mayor impacts health care described in Romer’s email, a Mayor makes a lot of appointments to his staff. Not long ago, John Hickenlooper hired a little-known white guy from back east (Michael Bennet) and today, he is a US Senator. Mayoral staff hires matter! If Hancock were a Republican, it would be easier for us Dems to see — we’d all not want R’s to get those staff positions, knowing it gives them each one more rung up the political ladder of the future. Do some pro-life people hire other people they know are pro-life? Does Sarah Palin shoot caribou?

        My take — Camp Romer raised a valid issue that all voters should think about before deciding who to vote for in the final. Hancock needs to answer this question: Is he a pro-life-pro-choice Dem like Ritter, or are we going to have to watch every hire, every appointment, every violation of the law his administration enforces, to call him out on women’s reproductive fredom? Just the suspicion will cause Hancock to lose some votes. And for Romer, he will lose some votes for the way he went about it. Is one person’s loss the other’s gain, or does Denver just get lower voter turnout?

        1. It would make as much sense to ask whether Romer is soft on capital murder because in some questionnaire he checked that graffiti was something the city should get tough on.

          Why won’t he come out and say he’s against capital murder? Voters demand to know. It’s a legitimate question to raise because voters tend to be against killing police officers, and it’s a safe bet that the voters who put pretty much anyone in office would oppose a politician who actually supported murder during the commission of a kidnapping.

          It’s odd, isn’t it, that no where on Romer’s website does he mention his position on these crimes. Are we going to have to watch every hire, every appointment that Romer makes to see if it reveals his secret fondness for flaying a man alive during the commission of a felony, like bank robbery? Are we?

          Like you say, Nancy

          it’s a politically effective strategy to raise the question

          because anyone who has the faintest inkling about Romer knows it’s a ridiculous attack so dismisses it as “politics as usual,” but everyone else repeats bullshit like appears throughout this thread — why won’t he just come out and say what his position is on murdering a busload of nuns with explosive devices? What’s he hiding?

          It’s a legitimate question if there’s any basis for asking it. But there isn’t, and “Camp Romer” knows it.  

          1. but found out Romer himself wouldn’t be there. Thank goodness, it could have been like the time Bart and Lisa went to Kamp Krusty…

          2. not necessarily a legitimate accusation. Sounds like it’s not based on the evidence everyone is presenting here. This is a great opportunity for Hancock to release a statement and get some media coverage telling Denverites how progressive he is. He doesn’t have to reference Spahn’s (implied) accusation.  

  1. well run campaign up to this point. Romer might want to rethink this strategy; it has backfire written all over it. Particularly in light of the fact that Hancock has received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood.

    This line of attack is far more indicative of how scared Romer and his staff are of the real possibility that Hancock is going to be the next mayor of Denver. You don’t go this negative, this soon, unless you’re nervous about the outcome.  

    1. How many people got that email?  How many of those people will check any fact on Colorado Pols or anywhere else?  If Andrew Romanoff would have went negative about three weeks earlier he might be a Senator.

      The issue with Michael is he is walking the “don’t piss anyone off” line.  He has not commented on one issue that is in our headlines.  Police Brutality, MMJ, the budget.  He is comfortable in his Democrat safe zone – schools, DIA Jobs (whatever that means) and how great Denver is together.  OK, that’s nice and we all agree.

      The only really dumb thing he has done is vote for a pay hike when Denver is $100 million in the hole!  Only 34% of Americans make more $64K. City council in a 600,000 person city has no business making more money than 75% of America!

      Not thrilled with Romer either.  But at least under Romer, my business and industry stands a chance.

      Here comes the mud, you are correct.

      1. Right? This made the Denver Post, including the link about Planned Parenthood. Romer didn’t just go negative here. He lied. But if that’s cool with you, hey, more power to you, sister.

        People go negative this early on in a campaign when internal polling shows them they have a reason to. I’m betting that reason is either women voters aren’t backing Romer or Romer, overall, isn’t polling as far ahead as you would wistfully continue to dream he is.

        But hey, what’s a little mud smearing and flat out lying as long as your industry is protected, right?  

          1. Just catching up with email and read the Romer slam mail on Hancock.  

            Yes, it did shake my confidence in my plan to vote for Hancock (my guy Mejia lost so I am a pick-up vote).

            Choice matters to my wife and me, so yes, it would have likely switched my vote to Romer (see current GOP rampage to end women’s right to choose in state and federal legislation as a priority over things like jobs).

            Naturally, I came here to get the inside story.  Didn’t know about the Planned Parenthood endorsement of Hancock.  Case closed.  Romer is toast in my household.

            1. Not everyone will check in, nor consider that choice isn’t a city hall issue.

              I’m not someone with campaign experience, though, so I’ll leave it to the veterans to assess the damage.

            2. Nor did he say he was pro-choice.

              Read the survey. Every other candidate said they were pro-choice.

              Hancock says he is pro-family planning.

              Not the same thing.

              Nowhere in there does he say he supports abortion rights.

              1. Hancock answered “Pro Family Planning,” adding: “I respect the right of all women to make their own personal and private reproductive decisions.”

                (from MotR’s link above)

                Ritter was anti-choice personally, but pro-the-right-of-others-to-choose.  I’m fine with that, and any way you want to spin Hancock’s broader-spectrum response.

                Basically, I don’t like politicians going negative, particularly on such a slender difference in semantics.

                1. and if Hancock is personally anti-choice, he needs to say so.

                  He’s trying to parse the issue himself.

                  And choice is very much a city hall issue. Try walking in to the Planned Parenthood clinic some time with the nut-nuts at the gates. Ask patients and providers in other cities who feel less than secure about city protection.

                  Not to mention Title X funding, which is administered at the local level.

                    1. still don’t see anything in there where Hancock uses the word abortion or clearly states his support for abortion rights.

                    2. He doesn’t have to support abortion. He has to support clinics telling folks about it. He does! That’s what it says.

                      Try again.

                    3. I’ll ask you what your problem with this statement (from her link) is:

                      I respect the right of all women to make their own personal and private reproductive decisions. I feel our priority should be to focus on prevention of unwanted pregnancy.

                      Is there some dog whistle being blown here? Something identifying him as anti-choice? If so, please help me hear it.

                    4. Since you took the time to transcribe, so will I. So what you said plus:

                      Do you support Colorado entities continuing to receive and provide services through the Title X program?

                      Hancock: Yes

                      When pregnant woman seeks services through a health care provider that receives title X funds, program guidelines require the provider to offer full options information, including information about prenatal care, adoption, and abortion, as well as where to obtain the services to any woman who asks. Do you support this policy?

                      Hancock: Yes

                      Emphasis mine, of course.

                      Someone else said it, this isn’t about policy at all, rather his personal beliefs. Where is a Jew to go when people who support freedom of religion are religious? Women? Hispanics? Epic fail continues.

                    5. Hancock was the ONLY candidate not to do so on the Planned Parenthood spectrum – he ticked pro-family-planning, everyone else said pro-choice. He picked the second tier of support, not the first.

                    6. Last time today I’m reminding someone that we can see their comments.

                      “Do you support Colorado entities continuing to receive and provide services through the Title X program?

                      Hancock: Yes

                      When pregnant woman seeks services through a health care provider that receives title X funds, program guidelines require the provider to offer full options information, including information about prenatal care, adoption, and abortion, as well as where to obtain the services to any woman who asks. Do you support this policy?

                      Hancock: Yes”

                      Tell me your problem one more time?

                    7. He checked pro-family planning, but not pro choice. I hear you.

                      But since he’s running for mayor, I guess I’m missing why this seems to be a make-or-break issue for you. First, that’s a state and federal level issue, and second, even if it became a city issue, it’s something that would never be seriously at risk in liberal-enough Denver. The mayor, whoever is elected, whatever their views on reproductive rights, will be dealing with other issues.

                      I think it’s possible that Hancock has some socially conservative views on a personal level. I’m pretty sure he’s a church-going Christian, and I heard through the grapevine (but never verified) that when Hancock was asked if he believed in evolution, he responded that he “believed in God.” Personally, I find that more alarming because he’s going to be more involved in education, although I don’t believe creationists stand a better chance in Denver than anti-choicers do. (And I’m not saying Hancock is a creationist – again, I never confirmed that anecdote. If it is true, it’s just vague enough to leave him with a little wiggle room.)

                      Anyway, to summarize, I think choice is a poor litmus test for the office of mayor. Hancock’s not anti-choice, and he’s not someone who runs for one office in order to leave the decision of who will succeed him to a committee instead of his constituents, so I’m still planning to vote for him.

                  1. I pulled this quote from Facebook. To see the original, become a fan of “Hancock for Denver.”

                    72 hours into the run-off, Chris Romer went negative today, and got his facts wrong. Michael is pro-choice and recently received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood. [Note: Aristotle’s emphasis.]Michael will continue to run a positive campaign because he knows mudslinging is not going put food on people’s tables, transform our failing schools or get this economy moving forward.

                    If this is false, I expect we’ll hear directly from PP. But there is absolutely no reason to assume that it’s anything by the truth.

        1. i was saying how many people find out what is true and not true though CP or whatever.  

          Going negative is effective.  Has nothing to do with me.  But yes, in an election i am voting what is good for me and my family. They are both Democrats and will uphold mostly democratic things.  So for me, it does come down to my business and my industry.

      2. How many people got that email?  How many of those people will check any fact on Colorado Pols or anywhere else?  If Andrew Romanoff would have went negative about three weeks earlier he might be a Senator.

        Answer to question 1: We all did.

        #2: We all did.

        #3: hahahahahah lmao

        Every time Romanoff’s team went negative, those of us in Bennet’s office welcomed in more volunteers. Going negative always wins some votes, and loses others. It’s a crap shoot — a very dangerous, very risky crap shoot, that in the end, hurts the party for a long time to come.  

  2. His Response email

    Dear Friend –

    Less than 72 hours into the run-off election, Michael’s opponent, Chris Romer, went negative yesterday. And worse yet, Chris got his facts completely wrong on where Michael stands on a woman’s right to choose. Michael is strongly pro-choice – and he just earned a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood.

    Help Michael defend himself and fight back against Chris’ desperate attacks. Contribute $25, $50 or $100 today!

    As pro-choice women, we are proud to support Michael in his campaign for mayor. But he’s going to need our help to overcome the type of deceptive campaign tactics we’re likely to see over the next 30 days.

    Can you help Michael? Please consider donating to his campaign today.

    Michael has spent the past six months campaigning and developing specific strategies to help lead Denver forward. He recently issued a First 100 Days in Office Plan and has concrete ideas that will turn around failing schools, create good jobs and eliminate the city’s budget deficit.

    John Hickenlooper showed all of us that negative campaigning isn’t what Denver wants or needs. We don’t do things like that here.

    Help Michael stand against these deceptive attacks so that he can keep running an honest, positive and hopeful campaign. Please contribute $25, $50 or $100 today!

    Thank you for supporting Michael for Mayor.


    Colorado State Senator Joyce Foster

    Denver Councilwoman-at-Large Carol Boigon

    State Board of Education Member Elaine Berman

    Denver Public Schools Board Member Theresa Pena

    Denver Public Schools Board Member Mary Seawell

    Hon. Elbra Wedgeworth

    Katina Banks

    Adrienne Benavidez

    Hannah Boigon

    Ajenai “AJ” Clemmons

    Abby Davidson

    Nikki Floyd

    Mary Louise Lee-Hancock

    C.L. Harmer

    Melody Harris

    Anna Jo Haynes

    Khadija Haynes

    Victoria Haynes

    Susan Heinzeroth

    Leslie Herod

    Fabby Hillyard

    Christie Isenberg

    Monica Lang

    Courtney Law

    Erin Mewhinney

    Sarah Moss

    Kendra Sandoval

    Sonja Semion

    Skye Stuart

    1. Talk about a false choice.  Since it is now established that Michael Hancock is firmly pro-choice, it seems his selection of Pro Family Planning was the more thoughtful and nuanced position to take.  It fully encompasses Pro-Choice but expands beyond that as well.

      Not speaking for Hancock, but my own feeling is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if emphasizing family planning — ensuring that education, counseling, contraceptives and medical care are widely available and affordable, it’s not a contradiction to think abortion should be rare, safe, available and affordable as well.

      Now that the attack by Romer can be dismissed as the cynical sham that it was, we can get on with the really important questions such as each candidate’s character (/snark).  

      What tone would their administration set?  Collaborative peacemaker or headline-grabbing china shop bull?

      But seriously, I just voted with my dollars for Hancock’s vision.

      1. It is nice to see the Polsters talk about this issue at a good length.

        I think it sets the tone for the rest of the campaign, it will be a blood bath if Hancock does not fight back with dirt.  Romer will dismantle him supporter group by supporter group because in the end it is not about the truth it is about creating a reasonable doubt.

        If Hancock takes the high road and tries to not play dirty this campaign will be a romer victory for sure.

        Also no one remembers how you win, just that you win.  

        1. In a quick-hit runoff like this, impressions will matter most.  How fast and hard can Romer or Hancock establish or change voter’s opinions?

          Do the voters have strong impressions of both candidates already (I doubt it).

          Will voter turnout increase or fall in this round?

          Which candidate will raise the most money in the next few weeks?

          There is only time for setting 1 or 2 significant impressions for each candidate in the coming weeks.

          Romer got first place in round one in a squeaker.  Endorsements matter.  If Mejia comes down on one side or the other, I think that will be the tell on this election outcome.

          1. My take:

            Do the voters have strong impressions of both candidates already?

            Yes and no. There’s a fairly large portion of the electorate that is highly informed and has strong opinions about the candidates in the race, however the majority of voters probably don’t.

            Will turnout increase or fall in this round?

            I expect it to fall. The runoff will have about 90,000 voters. It’s also hard to predict with another all mail-in election. Turnout in the general ended up being a little bigger than I was expecting.

            Which candidate will raise the most money in the next few weeks?



            Agreed. Huge. I’m grateful for having had the chance to work with someone with his vision and capacity for leadership. I firmly believe Denver really lost out not having him as mayor.

            1. With only a brief time to campaign and influence voter opinion, the most bang for the buck will be investing heavily in GOTV.

              So while a few thousand voters who’s candidate lost in round one may choose to sit out round two, I think between intense GOTV efforts combined with just two candidates vying for media attention, visibility will be much higher, leading to an overall higher turnout.

              How do you get out the vote in a mail-in election?  Besides harrassing phone calls and door-knockers, probably ballot parties in neighborhoods, community centers and union halls.  

              That’s one thing boardrooms and corporate facilities wouldn’t be particularly good at.

  3. Hancock said he doesn’t think choice is an issue:

    “I’d rather talk about those issues that families told me they care about when I met with Highland Mommies, they didn’t talk about choice.”

    They probably didn’t talk about choice because they thought he was on their side.

  4. Romer is attempting to replicate the Bennet campaign.  But Hancock is no Black Ken Buck.  I’ll vote for Hancock.  I don’t think either candidate, nor any of the bunch for that matter, is  particularly talented.  However, Romer thinks I am dumb, and I am not.  I won’t vote for someone who has contempt for his potential constituency.

    At this point, I wonder if Dennis Gallagher is regretting not running?  

    For the record, I did not vote for either of these guys first time around.

    1. I doubt this is Romer’s doing.  I am sure they are trying to lock down the female vote and it’s just blew up in their faces.

      Let’s face it, if it was not for Romer’s 1.4 million and his last minute infusion of cash he would not have made it into the runoff.

      He spent his way in and is now trying to find votes where he can find them.  Romer has an enthusiasm gap, his supporters may vote for him but people are not fired up for a Romer mayor.

      I am glad I am sitting this shit show out show down after Mejia. I still feel Romer would be a more honest mayor compared to Hancock.  Hancock is in it for himself and will make sure his people, friends and family are taken care of.

      The joy of picking between two totally unimpressive, lackluster and mediocre choices for Mayor.


      1. My thought on this is that Chris is counting on about half the Democratic vote by virtue of his being a legacy, and is running extremely hard for the vast majority of the Republican vote.

        I saw this as an attempt to publicly prod Hancock leftward, knowing that he would head that way anyway.  A week or two of leftward pushing along with the expected Hancock responses, and then I fully expect a full bore barage of negative ads from camp Romer and the 527s portraying Hancock as too radical, too dangerous, too far out of the Denver mainstream.

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