Mayor, council races go into runoff ballot

Election season in Denver isn't over yet


This post has been updated with official election results as of May 16.

The race for mayor isn't done yet as the May election extended into a runoff election set for June 4. More than 186,000 Denver residents turned in ballots on May 7 for the municipal election. The turnout for this year's election was 39.6 percent of registered voters in Denver, according to numbers from the Denver Elections Division. That number was higher than the 24 percent who voted in the last mayoral election in 2015.

The Denver Elections Division certified the results and gave an official count on May 16.

With six candidates for mayor, none made it to the required tally of at least 50 percent of the votes to be elected to the position. The two candidates with the most votes will run against each other again on June 4 in the runoff ballot. Those ballots will be sent out starting on May 20.

The rule of 50 percent of voters is also required for other positions on the May ballot, with the exception of City Council-at-Large members. Since there are two open positions for at-large members, the top two candidates are elected to the position.

Incumbents Robin Kniech and Deborah “Debbie” Ortega were elected with 28 percent (70,029), and 36 percent (91,994) of votes respectively. There were a total of six candidates for City Council-at-Large.

The final official count for mayor from the Denver Elections Division was as follows:

• Lisa Calderón 18.5 percent (33,100 votes)

• Stephan “Seku” Evans 0.7 percent (1,325 votes)

• Jamie Giellis 24.9 percent (44,543 votes)

• Michael B. Hancock 38.7 percent (69,271 votes)

• Kalyn Rose Heffernan 2.5 percent (4,481 votes)

• Penfield Tate 14.7 percent (26,370 votes)

A total of 179,207 people voted for mayor. As the top two candidates, Giellis and Hancock will move forward into the runoff ballot.

The race for mayor was not the only elected office to see a runoff election. Clerk and Recorder, as well as several city council candidates will head to the ballot again in June.

An uncontested Timothy O'Brien was elected as the city auditor with 132,179 votes.

The race for the office of Clerk and Recorder was tight, with each of the candidates securing around one-third of the votes. Former city councilmember Paul López pulled slightly ahead with 37 percent (53,337), and will face off against Peg Pearl, 33 percent (47,284), in the runoff.

In the Washington Park Profile coverage area, city councilmembers Paul Kashmann, District 6, and Jolon Clark, District 7, ran uncontested and were both reelected. District 6 covers Washington Park, Virginia Village and Rosedale, while District 7 covers the West Washington Park, Platt Park and Ruby Hill area.

In District 4, which encompasses Wellshire, Goldsmith and Hampden, incumbent Kendra Black won with 78 percent of the votes (12,212) versus Colleen Zahradnicek with 22 percent (3,477).

District 5 will go onto the runoff ballot with incumbent Mary Beth Susman running against Amanda Sawyer. The district, which includes Lowry, Hale and Windsor, had four candidates running for the position. Sawyer pulled in 41 percent of the votes (6,741) compared to Susman's 36 percent (5,956).

Lastly, District 10, which covers the Congress Park, Capitol Hill and Golden Triangle neighborhoods, will also be on the June ballot. The district had a total of four candidates. Incumbent Wayne New gained 39 percent of the votes (7,878), and will be running against Chris Hinds, who pulled in 30 percent of votes (6,130).

Final counts for the May ballot showed voters were split on the two initiatives. Right to Survive, or Initiative-300, was turned down by 81 percent (146,617) of voters. The initiative would have overturned Denver's current camping ban. Initiative-301, which decrminalizes the possession of psilocybin mushrooms, was back and forth in counts through the night on May 7. A final official count on May 16 showed 50.6 percent (90,097) of voters were for the initiative, while 49.4 percent (87,806) were against.

A new ballot initiative will also be included in the runoff ballot. The Let Denver Vote, or Initiative-302, received the correct amount of petition signatures after the deadline for the May ballot, but within the six-month window allotted to be on a potential runoff ballot. Let Denver Vote, if passed in June, will allow the citizens of Denver to vote on the use of taxpayer dollars to put in bids to host the Olympics in the city.

Over the next few months, the Washington Park Profile will run profiles on city council members and their goals for the upcoming term. The new city council will be sworn in on July 15.


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