Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Mayor’s Race: Final Week, KOA With Marty and Ed

With less than one week left in the Denver mayor and council races, do Denver voters decide to shake up City Hall as they did in the May 7 election when they only gave the incumbent Mayor 39 percent and put three incumbent councilpersons into runoffs, or does the establishment come back offering experienced leaders of a nationally admired city?

Denver is already voting, and if turnout is similar to the first round, most people voted the last week, with more than 80,000 voting the last day. There will be final debates, with lots of attacks before the candidates go to their closing main themes.

If the race is purely decided on the basis of the desire to change and concern about aspects of too much growth, Jamie Giellis is likely to win. But, runoff elections tend to shift to comparisons between the two top candidates that bring forth other factors that often help incumbents, such as knowledge of the city, its operation and its diversity. Michael Hancock has emphasized the success of the city and his accomplishments. But, he also went negative first and early in an effort to try to define his opponent as “anti-immigrant” and later as not qualified. Hancock’s campaign, which is well-funded with years of experience in citywide elections, has also capitalized on Giellis’ errors.

  • She early on endorsed getting rid of the city ban on homeless camping, even after 80 percent of Denver voters supported the ban in the May election. She had to reverse herself and clarify her position the final week.
  • She was distracted by an interview where she failed to correctly identify the acronym, NAACP, and various random tweets that seemed insensitive.

She desperately needs momentum the final week. Giellis, who did get the support of her candidate colleague who came in second, has gone after Hancock for corruption in contracting with the airport and Convention Center, and fostering a City Hall culture of sexual harassment. It’s not clear the issues have gained the traction that the excess of development had in early May.

She was 25,000 votes short of the Mayor’s vote in the first round, and if turnout is 180,000 or more, she needs to double the 44,000 votes she received. A tall order.

Listen to KOA interview here 

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